Incident 103: Twitter’s Image Cropping Tool Allegedly Showed Gender and Racial Bias

Description: Twitter's photo cropping algorithm was revealed by researchers to favor white and women faces in photos containing multiple faces, prompting the company to stop its use on mobile platform.


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Alleged: Twitter developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed Twitter Users , Twitter non-white users and Twitter non-male users.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam

GMF Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Known AI Goal

Image Cropping

Known AI Technology

Neural Network

Known AI Technical Failure

Generalization Failure

Potential AI Technical Failure

Distributional Bias, Incomplete Data Attribute Capture

Why Twitter’s image cropping algorithm appears to have white bias · 2020

Twitter‘s algorithm for automatically cropping images attached to tweets often doesn’t focus on the important content in them. A bother, for sure, but it seems like a minor one on the surface. However, over the weekend, researchers found th…

Twitter's Photo Crop Algorithm Favors White Faces and Women · 2021

A study of 10,000 images found bias in what the system chooses to highlight. Twitter has stopped using it on mobile, and will consider ditching it on the web.

LAST FALL, CANADIAN student Colin Madland noticed that Twitter’s automatic croppi…

Sharing learnings about our image cropping algorithm · 2021

In October 2020, we heard feedback from people on Twitter that our image cropping algorithm didn’t serve all people equitably. As part of our commitment to address this issue, we also shared that we'd analyze our model again for bias. Over …

Twitter launches bug bounty contest to detect algorithmic bias · 2021

Twitter has laid out plans for a bug bounty competition with a difference. This time around, instead of paying researchers who uncover security issues, Twitter will reward those who find as-yet undiscovered examples of bias in its image-cro…

Twitter's AI bounty program reveals bias toward young, pretty white people · 2021

Twitter's first bounty program for AI bias has wrapped up, and there are already some glaring issues the company wants to address. CNET reports that grad student Bogdan Kulynych has discovered that photo beauty filters skew the Twitter sali…


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