Twitter to Investigate Why Its Picture Cropping Algorithm Is Apparently Racist


Considering how little diversity is present in Silicon Valley, I’m never terribly surprised when some arbitrary feature on a tech platform turns out to have a racial bias. I mean, if white people aren’t thinking about how their racial bias affects people in the real world, I doubt they’re thinking about how it affects cropping a picture on Twitter.

Oh, you weren’t aware that Twitter’s picture cropping tool is, allegedly, kind of racist?

According to NBC News, Twitter will launch an investigation into the apparent racial bias of its picture cropping tool. The announcement comes after users reported that if a picture has a white and a Black face, the cropping algorithm will usually favor the white face.

The problem was first brought to light when Colin Madland, a manager at a Vancouver university, found that his Black colleague’s head would disappear during video calls on Zoom. Madland took to Twitter to find a solution only to find that Twitter had a similar problem of removing Black faces. He specifically noticed that the site’s mobile app would preview his face over his Black colleagues.



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