Twitter promises more control over photo cropping after ‘discriminatory algorithm’

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Twitter wants users to have more control over how a photo is displayed in the timeline, the company reports blog. The company is thus responding to an experiment that showed that the algorithm that makes a crop may have a preference for white people.

The issue came to light, among other things, after a Twitter user posted two photos of former President Barack Obama and US Senator Mitch McConnell, with a large white space in between.

One photo showed Obama at the top and McConnell at the bottom and the other the other way round, but the algorithm chose to portray the senator in both cases. Twitter design boss Dantley Davis previously took over on behalf of the company responsibility for the operation of the algorithm itself.

Davis explains in the published blog post together with a colleague that the algorithm is based on what people look at first. Earlier he said that focus on faces problematic is and that Twitter therefore does not.

“We recognize that the way we crop photos automatically can be harmful,” the Twitter executives write. The social medium therefore wants to give users more control over how a crop is made.

“We are committed to following the ‘what you see is what you get’ design principle, which simply means that the photo you see when you tweet will look like this in the tweet. There will be exceptions, such as photos that do not have a standard size or are very long or wide. In those cases we have to experiment. “

Algorithms themselves cannot be discriminatory, but their effect can have a discriminatory effect. It’s up to programmers to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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