A program from the social network Facebook has been disabled, after selecting a video with black people with the subject “Prime”. The company has apologized and will analyze what happened in another episode of a software bug related to facial recognition of non-white people.
A Facebook spokesperson admitted it was a “clearly unacceptable bug” and said the recommendation program in question had been removed from the social network. “We apologize to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations,” Facebook said in response to a question by AFP.
“We turned off all subject recommendations functionality as soon as we realized this had happened so we could investigate the cause and prevent it from happening again.” Many facial recognition programs have come under fire from civil rights advocates, who point out accuracy problems, particularly with regard to non-white people.
The case was triggered by a video clip of the British newspaper “Daily Mail” with black men, in which an automatic message was displayed asking if the user wanted to “continue watching videos of primates”. The June 2020 video in question was titled “White Man Calling Police Because of Black Men in Marina”.
A screenshot of the recommendation was shared on Twitter by former Facebook Content Design Director Darci Groves. “This ‘keep watching’ message is unacceptable,” Groves said, referring to the message to his former Facebook colleagues.
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