Twitter is investigating claims its photo preview algorithm could be racially biased.

Tests by a number of people suggest the platform may treat white faces as the focal point more frequently than black faces when selecting what part of the image to show.

The tech giant uses a system called neural network to automatically crop photo previews before you can click on them to view the full image.

This focuses on the area identified as the ‘salient’ image region, where it is likely a person would look when freely viewing an entire photo.

One example posted online by Twitter user @bascule shows American politician Mitch McConnell and former US President Barack Obama, with the system favouring Mr McConnell in its preview over Obama.

Meanwhile, another person tried with Simpson cartoon characters Lenny and Carl – the latter who is black – with Lenny appearing to take preference.

A third user even tried with dogs, resulting in a white dog in the prime preview position over a black dog.

Twitter chief design officer Dantley Davis said the firm is investigating, adding there are ‘some variables that we need to look into’.

Mr Davis posted an image of a black man and a white man in a rough test of his own, in which the black man was favoured in this case but only once both men’s hands had been cropped out of view.

‘It’s not a scientific test as it’s an isolated example, but it points to some variables that we need to look into,’ he tweeted.

‘Both men now have the same suits and I covered their hands. We’re still investigating the NN.’

Twitter’s chief technology officer Parag Agrawal also wrote about the matter, saying developers did analyse the model before rolling it out but said it ‘needs continuous improvement’ and he is ‘eager to learn from this’.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk. For more stories like this, check our news page.





READ SOURCE

READ  T-Mobile sees pandemic as opportunity to connect with first-responders with free service, phones

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here