WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Facebook’s AI prompted viewers of a video featuring black men to view more “videos about primates.”
- The company issued an apology to anyone who had seen the offensive suggestion.
- Facebook disabled the recommendation feature pending further investigation.
Facebook apologized for an incident wherein its artificial intelligence software asked viewers of a video featuring black men if they wanted to see additional “videos about primates.”
The tech monolith disabled the topic recommendation feature and said t’s investigating the cause of the error.
A spokesperson told The New York Times that it was an “unacceptable error” and apologized to anyone who witnessed the offensive suggestion.
The Daily Mail uploaded the video in question on June 27, 2020. According to NPR: “It showed an encounter between a white man and a group of Black men who were celebrating a birthday. The clip captures the white man allegedly calling 911 to report that he is ‘being harassed by a bunch of Black men,’ before cutting to an unrelated video that showed police officers arresting a Black tenant at his own home.”
Former Facebook employee Darci Groves tweeted about the error after a friend brought it to her attention.
“This ‘keep seeing’ prompt is unacceptable, @Facebook,” she wrote. “And despite the video being more than a year old, a friend got this prompt yesterday. Friends at FB, please escalate. This is egregious.”