DuckDuckGo Allegedly Discriminates during Hiring Process - Alternative Search Engines to Consider

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Avatar for LateToTheParty
2 years ago

Co-published on Publish0x.

A few days ago, an individual by the name of Chris posted on 4chan alleging discriminatory hiring practices from privacy-focused search engine company, DuckDuckGo. Chris has worked as a mobile developer for 12 years and has difficulty finding another job. He applied to DuckDuckGo, but did not make it to the second round. Then, came the crazy part.

Chris applied again, but under a fake name and female minority lesbian identity. He replaced the title of "Mobile Developer" from his original resume to "Pride & Diversity". Other than knocking down the working experience to 5 years, everything else on the resume is identical to the real one. The application answers had a much starker difference. In Chris's real application, he answered all questions in paragraph form and emphasized his technical expertise. In contrast, his answers in the fake application were very short and informal with multiple misspellings, and focused more on identity than skills relevant to DuckDuckGo.

The result? The fake resume and application got Chris into the second round.


View image in new tab to read the text.
The original 4chan post that alleged DuckDuckGo's discrimination.

Obviously, take the story with a grain of salt. However, if true, then this is pretty messed up. All it took for Chris to make it to the second round was transforming from a straight white male to a black lesbian female and focusing more on identity than actual merit. While the demographics of a company may not resemble that of the United States, it is not a green light for quota-based hiring practices. When a company keeps hiring people based on traits irrelevant to the skills the job openings require, it will inevitably run into brain drain.

When someone caught wind of this and shared the images on the DuckDuckGo subreddit, the post got taken down. Other users have made additional posts questioning DDG regarding this situation and they are still up on the subreddit. However, the company has not made a response. Whether the absence of a reply is evidence of DDG's complicity remains to be seen, but it is definitely not helping the company's case. To give DDG some fairness, both of Chris's applications ran through employee Diana Kalkoul, so this may be a problem isolated to her and not representative of the entire company.

That said, if you are a DDG user and this alleged story is enough for you to jump ship, then there are many other options available that respect your privacy. There is Qwant, Startpage, MetaGer, SearX, and Mojeek (brief details of each here). Based on my own findings, I have not seen any instances of questionable hiring practices from their parent companies (when applicable), but DYOR as always.

If you have been following my articles, then you would know that I'm a big fan of Presearch and Brave Search. The former is working on launching its node-powered decentralized mainnet. Currently, you can run your own node and earn PRE in the process (my Linux Mint guide) as well as testing out its decentralized testnet (my guide here). Brave Search is more centralized, but is (mostly) independent and does not collect your data. The company is working on implementing community-curated ranking for transparency (my thoughts about Brave Search here). UI-wise, it is very similar to DDG though it does have some warts in its search results and does need to source results from other engines like Google. Granted, it is still in beta.


Not quite there yet.

If you want to try out Presearch, earn some PRE, and test out the decentralized testnet, then create an account and add the URL query "https://testnet-engine.presearch.org/search?q=%s" to your browser's search engine settings. For a head start, you can use this referral link to get 25 PRE if you earn 50 PRE and have your account active for 30 days. If you want to try out Brave Search, then add the URL query "https://search.brave.com/search?q=%s" in your browser (if you use the Brave Browser, then the option is already available for you to set it as the default).

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Avatar for LateToTheParty
2 years ago

Comments

The american it industry is slowly losing everything its built up in the past decades - and they deserve it.

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2 years ago

The industry is full of anti-meritocratic woke bs and it boggles my mind when anyone who's not Microsoft and Google wants to imitate them thinking it's a winning strategy. The reason they can get away with it is because they have a lot of money. DuckDuckGo only has about 5% of the search engine marketshare with Google grabbing over 90% and DDG's audience tends to be anti-woke/anti-censorship. Bold strategy, Cotton...

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2 years ago
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2 years ago

Fortunately, I think Read.cash is niche and should be protected by obscurity so it should be fine, lol.

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2 years ago