24 September 2020

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Twitter apologizes over discussions that the photo algorithm is ‘racist’

Twitter apologized over the arguments that the photo algorithm is “racist”. Users of the social network found that the algorithm systematically focused on white people in photos.

In the statement made by the company, it was stated that the algorithm in question was tested before it was put into use, but that these tests were not advanced enough.

Twitter uses an algorithm that only displays “the important part” in previewing photos to prevent large photos from taking up the full screen. A situation faced by social platform users at the weekend brought up the discussion that the algorithm in question was “racist”.

A user shared two photos of both former US President Barack Obama and Senator Mitch McConnell to test the app. Although Obama and McConnell were replaced in the photos, it was seen that the algorithm focused on McConnell on both occasions.

Other users did similar experiments on this, showing that in most cases the algorithm puts white people forward. In the repeated tests, it was understood that factors such as background and clothes did not change the result.

It has been found that the algorithm also discriminates even in animals and fictional characters.

Making a statement on the shares, Twitter stated that they need to do more analysis on the issue and that they will work on the algorithm.

The company announced that they will publish the findings so that the results can also be reviewed by users.