back to article Twitter uses HackerOne bounties to find biases in its image-cropping AI model

Twitter's saliency algorithm – otherwise known as its automated image cropping tool – has a problem with gender and race bias. The micro-blogging service is hoping to fix it by offering what it reckons is the industry's first algorithmic bias bounty competition. The saliency algorithm employed by Twitter uses machine learning …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    How to avoid paying wages?

    Create a competition! Instead of spending money on hiring and getting right workers to do the job you need done, just offer $500 and poor souls from around the world will do all the work you need, even if you only pay a handful of people.

    In many countries companies must have to pay at least minimum wage.

  2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

    Should have asked the TV advertisers

    The saliency algorithm employed by Twitter uses machine learning to crop images around the first spot eyes most frequently fall. In fall of 2020, some users complained the image cropping favoured light skin over dark, and women's legs and breasts over their faces.

    Everything new is old. TV advertisers have known for decades where eyes most frequently fall in an image, using that knowledge to place their product accordingly. Clue... when the image contains people, often where viewers first look is at features of sexual and/or physical attractiveness.

    Twitter has simply re-discovered basic human nature. It's not an algorithmic bias, they just chose the wrong algorithm to detect where to crop around. Should've tried to locate faces, then go from there. Which, as we've seen over and over, has other problems if using AI for detection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should have asked the TV advertisers

      Your assessment sounds likely, and that would mean they had gathered some data with which to train their algorithm. Who were the test subjects whose eye movements were being tracked? Shouldn't we be calling them back up as a group to face moral condemnation for looking at 'bits' (I assume they were computer scientists) when they thought nobody was looking?

  3. Korev Silver badge

    Interestingly "Bounty" is sometimes used as a racist insult (ie black on the outside, white on the inside); perhaps not the best choice of terminology...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    It's all PR

    I don't see how it will have any significant effect on Twitter's algorithms.

    But that's not the purpose. The purpose is to make it seem to media and, most important, legislators and regulators that they are doing something. When it doesn't work they'll roll out a new (ineffectual) initiative.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not sure the incentives are correctly sized up, dig deep into those pockets if you want to get the best out there to work for you.

  6. bombastic bob Silver badge

    The REAL harm I regularly see in image cropping

    The REAL harm I regularly see in image cropping is done by humans THEMSELVES when people hold their stupid phone cameras in super-skinny portrait mode and take photos or videos "that way" and expect ANYONE ELSE that is NOT a "4 incher" (someone that views the universe through a 4-inch screen) to actually be able to VIEW it without having to somehow rotate it 90 degrees to keep the brain from exploding trying to decipher the images on it without CLOSING ONE EYE first, because our eyes are SIDE BY SIDE and NOT VERTICAL.

    >2:1 portrait mode REALLY STINKS. It's so BAD that when the news media needs to show these poorly oriented videos on a TV screen, they put fuzzy copies of it along the sides to make it closer to a square shape (they know it's bad, so they do what they can). Yet it still appears as if you are looking through an old-style keyhole (or a gap in a door jam) with both eyes open.

    Maybe the REAL algorithmic flaw is from a lack of artistic ability or aesthetics when it comes to photography in general, from such cluelessness being embedded within the AI design, and you get what you get.

    1. FILE_ID.DIZ

      Re: The REAL harm I regularly see in image cropping

      There is a PSA for those afflicted with VVS

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