Aug 10, 2021

Twitter algorithm prefers slimmer, younger, light-skinned faces

As a result the company revised how images were handled, saying cropping was best done by people. The "Saliency algorithm" decided how images would be cropped in Twitter previews, before being clicked on to open at full size. Director of software engineering Rumman Chowdhury said Twitter had concluded "How to crop an image is a decision best made by people". Mr Kulynyc, a graduate student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne's Security and Privacy Engineering Laboratory, discovered the "Saliency" of a face in an image could be increased - making it less likely to be hidden by the cropping algorithm - by "Making the person's skin lighter or warmer and smoother; and quite often changing the appearance to that of a younger, more slim, and more stereotypically feminine person". Second prize went to Halt AI, a female-founded University of Toronto start-up Twitter said showed the algorithm could perpetuate marginalisation in the way images were cropped.

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