Category: Social Media

Twitter Is Giving Away Thousands Of Dollars To Fix ‘Racist’ & ‘Sexist’ Algorithm

Image via Photo 133465603 © Michele Ursi |

Humans are to blame for the prejudice rooted in artificial intelligence, and humans will fix it. After much struggle, Twitter is now offering bounty rewards to researchers and hackers who can identify bias in its algorithm, as well as offer solutions to fix it.

A cash reward of US$3,500 will be presented to the winner, with prizes of US$1,000 and US$500 set aside for runners-up and other participants with meaningful entries.

A new blog post announcing the competition, running through August 6, invites “bounty hunters” who can discover “potential harms of this algorithm beyond what we identified ourselves” to not only abolish gender and racial bias in Twitter’s image-cropping feature but also help resolve a broader challenge of “algorithmic harms” faced by the industry. As such, there are also openings for ‘Most Innovative’ and ‘Most Generalizable’ (applicable to most algorithms) ideas.

Twitter acknowledges that the rewards were inspired by criticism around its image-cropping AI, which seemingly favored white people over Black figures. For instance, the tweet below includes photos of both former US president Barack Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but only shows the latter. The social network overcame the issue by killing the photo-cropping tool in May.

Trying a horrible experiment…

Which will the Twitter algorithm pick: Mitch McConnell or Barack Obama?

— Tony “Abolish ICE” Arcieri 🦀 (@bascule) September 19, 2020

The challenge’s entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges—including Harvard computer science PhD student and research scientist Ariel Herbert-Voss, Ford Foundation Tech Fellow Matt Mitchell, network security expert Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, and data scientist Patrick Hall—on “both quantitative and qualitative” aspects of the research. Winners will also be invited to present their findings at Twitter’s DEF CON AI Village workshop in August.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our algorithms to reduce the unintentional harms they can cause on the people who use Twitter, and society at large,” Twitter noted in a tweet. “We can’t solve these challenges alone, and we want your help.”

Here’s the TL;DR.

Our first-ever algorithmic bias bounty challenge. We’re openly sharing a Twitter algorithm so adversarial minds can do what they do best. The winners will receive cash prizes.

— Twitter Engineering (@TwitterEng) July 30, 2021

[via Insider, cover image via Photo 133465603 © Michele Ursi |]

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Facebook & Instagram Ban Ad-Targeting Of Younger Users, Make Accounts Private

Photo 128959287 ©️ Mikhail Primakov |

In Facebook’s newest change to its privacy policy, advertisers will no longer be able to use tracked information or anything acquired from other services to display targeted ads to the Facebook-Instagram-Messenger trio of platforms’ youngest users, starting (officially) from age 13.

“We want them to easily make new friends and keep up with their interests, but we don’t want them to deal with unwanted DMs or comments from strangers,” explains the company in a statement. “We think private accounts are the right choice for young people, but we recognize some young creators might want to have public accounts to build a following.”

Thus, they’ve outlined three areas they want to change: defaulting users under 16 years old to private accounts when signing up for a new one; making it harder for “potentially suspicious accounts” to find younger users; and lastly, limiting advertisers’ options when it comes to reaching a younger audience.

For existing young users on Instagram with a public account, a notification will be rolled ut to highlight why having their account on private would be better for them, and guiding users through the process of switching. Facebook claims that during testing, eight of ten young people chose to accept the newly instated ‘default private’ setting during the sign-up process.

After a few weeks, advertisers will only be able to access information for targeted ads from users who are older than 18. The information includes interests and activity from other apps and websites. While there already is an option to ‘tell’ the platform about ads you don’t like to see, it stands true that younger users may not have the same capacity as adults to decide.

Image via Facebook

In order to determine people’s ages, Facebook is implementing AI which reads posts that might hint towards a user’s age. For example, “Sweet 16th!” posts. This technology could in turn work to ‘catch out’ and remove users who are under 13, but have lied about their age in order to make an account.

However, the social media giant recognizes that banning children isn’t going to solve the problem at large. “The reality is that they’re already online,” the statement writes. “With no foolproof way to stop people from misrepresenting their age, we want to build experiences designed specifically for them, managed by parents and guardians.” More changes appear to be coming soon, perhaps a kid-friendly version of the platform.

[via Engadget, images via photo 128959287 ©️ Mikhail Primakov | and Facebook]

Pinterest Introduces New Ways To Let You Monetize The Ideas In Your Pins—Finally

Photo 81453071 ©️ Wdnetagency |

To retain market share in the increasingly-competitive influencer economy, social media giants—from TikTok to Facebook to YouTube—have been thinking up new ways to improve earnings of creators on their platforms.

Although late to the monetization race, it looks like Pinterest is finally ready to take a big step forward.

‘Shoppable’ Pins

Image via Pinterest

Back in May, Pinterest launched Idea Pins, a video-based feature based on the existing Story Pins. However, the firm decided against a transient story function like the one we saw pioneered on Instagram, instead turning Idea Pins into a longer-lasting concept. The new Pins allowed users to create up to 20 pages of content in a single post, with recording and editing functions too.

Now, a few months later, creators are able to utilize Idea Pins in more ways, including business ventures. They’ll be able to tag products in the pins to make the content ‘shoppable.’

Affiliate Links, Brand Partnerships

Image via Pinterest

There’s also the opportunity to earn commissions via affiliate links, and create sponsored content for brand partnerships. So, creators can utilize a specific sponsored product, tag it, and allow viewers easy access to the brand and product info, generating revenue.

Although still somewhat reminiscent of Instagram stories and TikTok videos, the new features do have their own unique spins. For example, the videos include ‘detail pages’ where viewers can find relevant content. So a recipe video might have the ingredients list there, or a craft project might include a transcript of its instructions.

Shopping isn’t entirely new to Pinterest either—the platform has partnered with Shopify with a recent expansion to more regions, and product links already exist on content. Pinterest found that users “come to Pinterest to shop”, and were “89% more likely to exhibit shopping intent on products tagged in Idea Pins than on standalone Product Pins.”

However, the new Idea Pins put creators on the forefront. “Creators are central to our mission to bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love, and we’ll continue working with them to build their businesses and find success on Pinterest,” says Aya Kanai, Pinterest’s Head of Content and Creator Partnerships.

[via TechCrunch, images via photo 81453071 ©️ Wdnetagency | and Pinterest]

LinkedIn Posts Record Full-Year Revenue Result, Continues to See Strong Growth in Active Sessions

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