Leading matrimony platform Shaadi.com has been accused of discrimination within its algorithms.
The service has come under fire due to the fact that it insists users state their caste or ‘sub-community’ on their profile. This has led to many claiming it drives home prejudices and community stereotypes.
The discrimination was uncovered by a profile set up by a Brahmin, the highest caste of Indian society, who discovered that they would not be offered matches to those who are of the lowest division of society – known as the Dalit or “untouchable” class.
Users are required to manually change their profile settings to include all castes, which has raised concerns as to whether the site meets equality laws. It is illegal in India to discriminate against somebody via caste, but it is not yet specifically outlawed in the UK.
Speaking to The Times, barrister Chris Milsom said: “Restricting matches by caste could be contravening the Equality Act. By forcing users to state their caste, the sites are either discriminating themselves, or knowingly aiding discrimination by users.”
Similarly, Santosh Dass, the chairwoman of the Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance, added: “Using algorithms to segregate and favour certain users on the grounds of caste is outrageous – you would never do the same with race. I am shocked.”
In the summer, researchers from the University of Michigan analysed more than 300,000 Shaadi.com accounts and found that younger Indians appear to be more open to inter-caste marriages than older generations.
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