Facebook will study whether its algorithms are racially biased

Facebook will itself set up research teams that will study the algorithms of the social network. The researchers will investigate whether the algorithms discriminate against minorities, both at Facebook itself and at subsidiary Instagram.


These are different groups that will conduct research within the company, writes The Wall Street Journal. The group already exists within Instagram, but a group is also being set up within Facebook itself. The “equality team,” as it is called internally, should ensure that “equality and fairness are applied in all products Facebook develops,” according to the sources. The team will work closely with a similar team within Facebook: Responsible AI.

The team will study the effects of the algorithms used in Facebook and Instagram on minorities, such as black people and Latinos. The team itself consists of minorities and experts. There are several problems with Facebook’s artificial intelligence. For example, profiles of black users would be closed faster than those of others. The research team not only looks at the results of the algorithms, but also at the input that the algorithms have received.

Facebook would respond with the internal team to, among other things, the recent advertising boycott of large companies. There are now dozens of companies that have joined the boycott, although the effect on turnover for Facebook is not as good as yet. Facebook has also been under attack for some time because of its position in the public debate. For example, Mark Zuckerberg has said more than once that Facebook does not fact-check politicians and wants to be “not the arbiter of truth.”