Facebook: algorithm mistakes black people for monkeys

Facebook is regularly accused of not fighting enough against racism and other forms of hatred and discrimination.

AFP - OLIVIER DOULIERY

Text by: RFI Follow

4 min

A Facebook recommendation algorithm asked users if they wanted to see more " 

primate videos

 " under a UK tabloid video showing black people, The

New York Times

revealed on

Friday (September 3).

Advertising

Read more

The

Daily Mail

video

,

over a year old, is titled " 

White man calls cops against black men at marina

 ". It only shows people, not monkeys. Below, the question " 

see more videos on primates?"

 With the options " 

Yes / Reject

 " was displayed on the screen of some users, according to a screenshot posted on Twitter by Darci Groves, a former designer of the giant of social networks. " 

It's scandalous,

 " she commented, calling on her ex-colleagues at Facebook to escalate the matter.

Um.

This “keep seeing” prompt is unacceptable, @Facebook.

And despite the video being more than a year old, a friend got this prompt yesterday.

Friends at FB, please escalate.

This is egregious.

pic.twitter.com/vEHdnvF8ui

- Darci Groves (@tweetsbydarci) September 2, 2021

“ 

It is clearly an unacceptable error

, reacted a spokesperson for Facebook, requested by AFP.

We apologize to anyone who has seen these insulting recommendations.

 "

The Californian group has deactivated the recommendation tool on this subject "as 

soon as we noticed what was happening in order to investigate the causes of the problem and prevent it from happening again

," said the spokesperson.

As we said, although we have improved our artificial intelligence systems, we know that they are not perfect and that we have some progress to make.

 " 

► 

To read also: Boycott against racism: "Facebook does an economic calculation"

American Society Division

The case highlights the limits of artificial intelligence technologies, regularly highlighted by the platform in its efforts to build a personalized feed to each of its some 3 billion monthly users.

It also uses it extensively in content moderation, to identify and block problematic messages and images before they are even seen.

But Facebook, like its competitors, is regularly accused of not fighting enough against racism and other forms of hatred and discrimination.

The subject arouses all the more tension as many civil society organizations accuse social networks and their algorithms of contributing to the division of American society, in the context of the demonstrations of the “Black Lives Matter” movement (Les vies black count).

(With agencies)

► 

To read also: Hateful content: Facebook under pressure from brands, promises to clean up

Newsletter

Receive all international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application

google-play-badge_FR

  • Facebook

  • Racism

  • Social networks

  • United States

On the same subject

Hateful content: Facebook under pressure from brands, promises to clean up

Boycott against racism: "Facebook does an economic calculation"

Keywords: