Twitter vows to make changes to its “bias” image cropping tool

Credit: NYT

Twitter has announced that changes are coming to its image cropping tool. A couple of weeks ago, some users had tweeted their displeasure about how Twitter’s image cropping algorithm is biased towards fair skinned people. The outrage has not gone unnoticed as the social media giant has now vowed to make some changes.

When you post an uncropped image that has both light and dark-skinned people. Twitter’s algorithm often showed the light-skinned person in preview. This makes it look like there is a bias against dark-skinned images; and some users are not comfortable with this.

Though, Twitter said its algorithm was tested for bias, it however, promises to conduct further investigations to resolve the issues. As part of the changes, users will be given more power to determine the outcome of image cropping on the platform. 

“We are prioritizing work to decrease our reliance on ML-based image cropping by giving people more visibility and control over what their images will look like in a Tweet. We’ve started exploring different options to see what will work best across the wide range of images people Tweet every day,” the Microblogging company said on Thursday. 

Explaining how its machine learning algorithm works, Twitter said its ML relies on saliency, which is a measure that predicts where people look first in an image. The social network giant explained that the system was tested for bias between a different range of demographic groups, and no bias was found by its team. Twitter, however, admits that the potential for bias cannot be ruled out considering the fact that it automatically crops photos. 

“While our analyses to date haven’t shown racial or gender bias, we recognize that the way we automatically crop photos means there is a potential for harm. We should’ve done a better job of anticipating this possibility when we were first designing and building this product.”

I guess we will just have to wait to see how this goes; hopefully it does not take forever to get things sorted out

In other news, Twitter is making a feature it started testing as far back in June available to everyone. The feature, which the microblogging platform announced via its page last June, will prompt you to read before you tweet. The company announced the availability of the feature to all users via its official page last week.

Twitter says it wants to encourage people to read their tweet before posting it. This, the company believes will help promote informed conversation. What this means is that when next you retweet an article you have not read, you may be asked if you would like to open it first.

Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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