New post Need visibility? Apply for a FREE post for your Startup.  Apply Here

Big StoryNews

Twitter Is Looking Into Its Photo Preview Algorithm, After Users Made Accusations Of Racial Bias

2 Mins read

Over the weekend, the result of a social experiment carried out by some Twitter users triggered the internet.

In the experiment, a Twitter user @bascule tweeted:

Trying a horrible experiment… Which will the Twitter algorithm pick: Mitch McConnell or Barack Obama?

Added to the tweet are two long rectangular images.

The first one has the picture of US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (a white man) at the top, followed by a long white space in the middle, and then, the picture of former US president, Barack Obama (a black man), at the bottom.

The second picture flipped the position of McConnell and Obama.

In the preview of the tweet, Twitter algorithm shows the picture of Mitch McConnell on both image columns.

The experiment was then carried out with different images, and facial expressions, and most of the times, Twitter algorithm previews the face of the white man, over the black man.

This caused a spark on the internet over the weekend, as many users accused Twitter of racial bias.

According to a report by Verge, the informal testing began after a Twitter user tweeted about a problem he noticed in Zoom’s facial recognition, which was not showing the face of a Black colleague on calls. When he posted to Twitter, he noticed it too was favouring his white face over his black colleague’s face.

According to a post by Machine learning researchers, when Twitter began using the automatic image cropping preview, it used facial recognition to train the machine.

Previously, we used face detection to focus the view on the most prominent face we could find. While this is not an unreasonable heuristic, the approach has obvious limitations since not all images contain faces. Additionally, our face detector often missed faces and sometimes mistakenly detected faces when there were none. If no faces were found, we would focus the view on the center of the image. This could lead to awkwardly cropped preview images.

Liz Kelly, a spokesperson at Twitter, expressed that Twitter tested its system, but they couldn’t find any evidence of racial or gender bias. She however, added that this only shows that there is need for more testing.

Liz Kelly also said that Twitter will keep its work on the algorithm open-source so that other developers can learn from what they find.

Don’t miss any tech news ever!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

791 posts

About author
When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
Articles
Related posts
News

WeCare secures $350,000 to propel ethical, sustainable lab-grown diamonds

2 Mins read
The search and mining of diamonds have been one of the causes of major armed conflicts in mining communities around the world,…
News

Apple removes WhatsApp, Threads and other apps in China over 'security concerns'

1 Mins read
Amidst the tight control over internet services in China, Apple has removed several popular messaging apps from its App Store in the…
News

X to charge new users for posting in effort to curb bot invasion

2 Mins read
X, formerly known as Twitter, is making plans to tackle the scourge of bots and spam on its platform. The plan, which…
Newsletter Subscription

🤞 Don’t miss any update!

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy

Join our Telegram channel here - t.me/TechpadiAfrica

Leave a Reply