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Technology Twitter is looking into why its photo preview appears to favor white faces over Black faces

00:00  21 september  2020
00:00  21 september  2020 Source:   theverge.com

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Twitter it was looking into why the neural network it uses to generate photo previews apparently chooses to show white people’s faces more frequently than Black faces . Several Twitter users demonstrated the issue over the weekend, posting examples of posts that had a Black person’s face

Twitter is investigating why its photo algorithm appears to favour white faces over black after accusations of racial bias. Twitter is looking into allegations that its algorithm which chooses a preview image for a large photo is racially biased. Tests of the algorithm done by users on the social

Twitter it was looking into why the neural network it uses to generate photo previews apparently chooses to show white people’s faces more frequently than Black faces.

  Twitter is looking into why its photo preview appears to favor white faces over Black faces © Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Several Twitter users demonstrated the issue over the weekend, posting examples of posts that had a Black person’s face and a white person’s face. Twitter’s preview showed the white faces more often.

The informal testing began after a Twitter user tried to post 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 favoring his white face over his Black colleague’s face.

Users discovered the preview algorithm chose non-Black cartoon characters as well.

When Twitter first began using the neural network to automatically crop photo previews, machine learning researchers explained in a blog post how they started with facial recognition to crop images, but found it lacking, mainly because not all images have faces:

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The photo preview feature of Twitter has faced increasing scrutiny as global users continue to examine the neural network algorithm. This time, however, things might not be up to snuff. In other words, the app's preview algorithm could have a racial bias. Racial bias allegations on Zoom, Twitter .

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 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 .

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.

Twitter chief design officer Dantley Davis tweeted that the company was investigating the neural network, as he conducted some unscientific experiments with images:

Liz Kelley of the Twitter communications team tweeted Sunday that the company had tested for bias but hadn’t found evidence of racial or gender bias in its testing. “It’s clear that we’ve got more analysis to do,” Kelley tweeted. “We’ll open source our work so others can review and replicate.”

Twitter didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment Sunday.

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