Facebook will examine potential racial bias in its algorithms
Facebook recently confirmed its plan to perform an internal audit on the way it manages hate speech on the platform in light of boycotts by major advertisers over the issue. Walmart, Verizon, Ford, and Microsoft are some of the big ad spenders on the social network to have joined the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign calling on advertisers to withdraw their spending on the platform until Facebook addresses hate speech and racial issues.
Now, the social media giant is forming new teams to study whether its algorithms contain bias toward Black, Hispanic, and other minority groups in the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. The internal teams will examine both the main Facebook platform and Instagram, comparing the effects of these algorithms on the service’s minority and white users. This was confirmed by an Instagram representative.
Facebook is also conducting discussions with third-party experts and civil rights groups on how to examine race in a reliable and consistent manner as part of this new effort. Regarding the new plan, Instagram’s Stephanie Otway said, “It’s early; we plan to share more details on this work in the coming months”.
The team being created for Instagram is called the “equity and inclusion team”, although it doesn’t have a leader for now. Meanwhile, Facebook’s dedicated team is called the “Inclusivity Product Team”, tasked with making consultations with a council of Black users and racial issue experts. The goal is to work with other product teams and develop new features for the platform designed to support minority users.