Facebook Apologizes For AI Labeling Black Men As “Primates”

Facebook has apologized after the social network’s artificial intelligence labelled videos of black men as “primates”.

According to The New York Times, the video in question belongs to the British newspaper Daily Mail. It was uploaded to Facebook on June 27, 2020, shows black men in altercations with white civilians and the police. Below the player, the social network’s recommendation algorithm asked users if they wanted to “Keep seeing videos about primates?.”

Facebook apparently didn’t find out about the issue until a few days ago, when Darci Groves, the company’s former content design manager, tweeted about the error on Thursday after a friend clued her in on the misidentification.

Facebook deactivated the recommendations based on artificial intelligence as soon as it became aware of the matter.

Facebook spokeswoman Dani Lever has already apologized for this “unacceptable mistake” and made the following statement to The New York Times: “As we have said, while we have made improvements to our A.I., we know it’s not perfect, and we have more progress to make. We apologize to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations.

It is not the first time that neural networks of various companies have made such mistakes. In 2015, Google algorithms tagged photographs of two black men with the “gorilla” tag, after which the American media discovered that Google had removed the word “gorilla” from its search and tag databases altogether.

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