, September 25, 2021

Twitter saliency algorithm biased against black women


  •   2 min reads
Twitter saliency algorithm biased against black women

Twitter has revealed that its saliency algorithm  had a tendency to be especially biased against black women but doesn't appear to objectify individuals.

Twitter crops images. It says: "We did this to improve consistency in the size of photos in your timeline and to allow you to see more Tweets at a glance." The technology it uses is called a saliency algorithm which "works by estimating what a person might want to see first within a picture so that our system could determine how to crop an image to an easily viewable size."

Alas, as is now well known, algorithms, especially those involving machine learning applied to data, can end up being racist and misogynistic.  Twitter users said they thought the image cropping discriminated against black people, discriminated against women and tended to focus on parts of the female anatomy that it shouldn't focus on — otherwise known as the male gaze.

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