Black people on Twitter have expressed outrage after multiple experiments proved the website has a tendency to crop out the faces of Black people and spotlighting the faces of white people, according to The Verge and BBC.
But Twitter is not the only site with the issue.
Other people have spotted similar problems with Zoom, and the racial bias expressed through both platforms' algorithms highlights a larger problem that has implications reaching far beyond just Twitter and Zoom.
Last week, a Twitter user noticed something strange about the way images were previewed in tweets that you hadn't clicked on yet. Before you actually click on the tweet, Twitter shows you a preview of the image. But one enterprising user showed that no matter how you organized a photo, Twitter always put the white face as the preview and left out the Black face.
In a sad bit of irony, the racial bias problem with Twitter's algorithm was discovered when someone was trying to show the racial bias in Zoom's algorithm.
Colin Madland tweeted about problems he was having on Zoom calls where, if a special background was used, Zoom’s facial recognition would not show his Black colleague's face.
He tried to tweet about the problem but Twitter's algorithm did the same thing, focusing in on his face and not on the face of his colleague.
Turns out @zoom_us has a crappy face-detection algorithm that erases black faces...and determines that a nice pale globe in the background must be a better face than what should be obvious.— Colin Madland (@colinmadland) September 19, 2020