Pinterest is a virtual epicenter of aesthetics and art, whether it’s fashion, beauty, housewares or photography. Millions of users visit the site every day in search of inspiration, so it’s no surprise that the site’s new algorithms and features have taken audiences by storm with their ability to personalize browsing experiences and personalization. purchase for each user. Recent developments on the site have given the Pinners the ability to refine the range of skin tones in their searches for beauty products and makeup inspiration, in order to capture more relevant and desired results. For example, a search for “purple lipstick with olive skin” will return accurate results, while smoothing out a generally overwhelming number of images of white skin. Not only that, but the recent introduction of augmented reality technology allows the virtual try-on of lipstick with over 10,000 purchasable shades. These new features recognize that Pinterest’s key tenet is inspiration for artistic expression, it’s hard to maintain this mantra if not all users feel properly portrayed. The ability to modify search results to provide each user with a more unique and appropriate browsing experience is therefore at the heart of the appeal of restricted search results.
In the wake of Instagram, Pinterest has relatively recently changed its site and function to promote businesses and commercial activities in favor of online shopping, with an increase in hyperlinks and advertisements directing us to a multitude of sites such as Feelunique and John Lewis. With an increasingly clear demand for diverse search results over the years, Pinterest has recognized that new algorithms and narrower searches are doing very well in improving the site’s business growth through their ability to pull together a larger demographic. large and more diverse pinch-lap-customers. .
While such diversification is therefore arguably in the interest of profit, these new search tools simultaneously help reduce the typically white-centric nature of Pinterest. In this sense, Pinterest seems increasingly aware of the structural lack of inclusiveness often maintained by its algorithms. However, this algorithmic bias is not unique to Pinterest, as Safiya Noble – author of Oppression algorithms. Noble says simple Google image searches such as “beautiful girl” return a selection of particularly whitewashed results, while searches such as “black girl” return usually derogatory images. Examples such as these challenge algorithmic biases in terms of Pinterest’s regularly whitewashed lack of diversity. But where is the responsibility? Should we blame Pinterest and the content it promotes? Or do we blame the apparent user demand for the site? After all, algorithms are generally designed to reflect the data they receive.
Even though companies like Pinterest intend to promote the inclusiveness of their content and their users, biases tend to develop depending on the composition of the site’s users and their searches. This means that if users search for “hairstyles” on Pinterest and come across a selection of predominantly white-focused results, their additional engagement with those images informs the algorithm that those results are in demand, when in fact the lack of diversity. on the site leaves users with few alternative images to engage with. What Pinterest is currently doing, however, is an attempt to regulate these algorithmic biases by providing a way for users to more easily engage with diverse outcomes, thereby informing the site’s algorithm that outcomes such as type 4 hair. are just as relevant as type 2 in a general search for ‘updos’. It is certainly a positive step forward, but it arguably should have happened much sooner.
The current lack of diversity in response to a shallow lack of demand in Pinterest makeup and beauty research is also noticeable in drugstores. A quick spin around Superdrug or Boots will leave you with the impression that customers with darker skin tones are mostly indifferent to the cosmetics industry, as there is a glaring lack of proper foundations and concealers. This impression from the beauty industry confirms that the demand for a product or a research result can only truly be distinguished if there is a suitable product to request in the first place – the immense popularity of the beauty collection. Rihanna’s Fenty is a perfect example. Pinterest certainly has a long way to go to escape its white-centric reputation, but these new skin tone filter introductions are a good place to start and hopefully serve as an example for similar sites to follow. . Now that Pinners can inform demand more easily, the site’s links to cosmetic retailers show promise in encouraging wider inclusion in the beauty industry, both online and on the main street.
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