Facebook mistakenly calls black men “primates” | Social Media News

The social media giant founded by Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for “a clearly unacceptable mistake” but has already faced allegations of racial bias.

Facebook announced that it had disabled its subject recommendation feature after mistaking black men for “primates” in a video on the social network.

A Facebook spokesperson called this a “clearly unacceptable mistake” and said the referral software involved had been taken offline.

“We apologize to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations,” Facebook said in response to an AFP investigation.

“We turned off the entire topic recommendation feature as soon as we realized this was happening so that we could investigate the cause and prevent it from happening again. “

Facial recognition software has been criticized by civil rights activists for reporting problems with accuracy, especially for people who are not white.

In recent days, Facebook users who watched a UK tabloid video featuring black men received an automatically generated prompt asking if they wanted to “continue to watch primate videos,” according to the New York Times .

The video in question from June 2020, published by the Daily Mail, is titled “White man calls cops on black men at marina”.

While humans are one of the many species in the primate family, the video had nothing to do with apes, chimpanzees or gorillas.

A screenshot of the recommendation was shared on Twitter by former Facebook content design manager Darci Groves.

“This ‘keep seeing’ prompt is unacceptable,” Groves tweeted, targeting the message to former Facebook colleagues.

“It’s obvious.”

The social media giant founded by Mark Zuckerberg has faced several controversies in recent years.

In 2020, hundreds of advertisers joined the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, run by social justice groups including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Free Press, to pressure Facebook to take concrete measures to block hate speech and disinformation, in the wake of the death of a black man, George Floyd in police custody.

In a 2019 Al Jazeera article, David A Love, a Philadelphia-based freelance journalist and media studies professor, also alleged that Zuckerberg’s company was intentionally “pro-hate groups, white nationalists and extremists. far right ”.