Twitter is looking into allegations that its algorithm which chooses a preview image for a large photo is racially biased and would investigate its image-cropping function after users complained it favored white faces over Black ones.
The image preview feature of Twitter’s mobile app automatically crops pictures that are too big to fit on the screen, selecting which parts of the image to display and which to conceal.
Tests of the algorithm done by users on the social media site over the weekend led to several examples of a preference for white faces from the automated system. Twitter is looking into why its photo preview feature appears to prioritise white faces over black ones, despite testing the feature for racial bias before launching it. Several users experimented and found multiple occasions where the site showed white faces more times than black faces in images where both were present.
Twitter’s chief design officer Dantley Davis conducted his own investigation and found this wasn’t always the case, but said the company were investigating the feature nonetheless.