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Apple Card and 6 Other Tech Tools Accused of Gender Bias

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From recruitment software that favours male applicants to facial recognition technology that fails to recognise transgender people, a growing number of artificial intelligence (AI) programmes have been accused of holding human gender bias. Apple became the latest tech giant to face criticism last week when customers of its new credit card service, including company co-founder Steve Wozniak, said it appeared to give men higher credit limits than women.

Here are six other tech tools that have been accused of gender discrimination:

Facebook ads
A US study this year found Facebook’s algorithms matching marketing for housing and jobs with viewers leant on stereotypes. Ads for jobs in the lumber industry went mostly to white men, while secretary positions were mostly directed at black women, according to the study.

Amazon’s recruiting tool
Amazon scrapped an experimental automated recruiting engine that used AI to give job candidates scores ranging from one to five stars after finding it did not like women. Amazon’s computer models were trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted to the company. But as most came from men, reflecting male dominance across the tech industry, the system had taught itself that male candidates were preferable.

Digital assistants
A United Nations report this year said popular digital assistants styled as female helpers such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana reinforced sexist stereotypes and normalised sexist harassment. Styled as female helpers, most voice assistants were programmed to be submissive and servile – including politely responding to insults.

Facial recognition
Facial recognition technology struggles to recognise transgender people and those who do not define themselves as male or female, according to an October study by the US University of Colorado Boulder. Researchers tested facial recognition systems from IBM, Amazon, Microsoft and Clarifai on photographs of trans men and found they were misidentified as women 38 percent of the time.

Google Images
A 2015 University of Washington study found women were underrepresented in Google Images search results for most jobs and slightly underrepresented for some of them, including CEO. The researchers said the issue could have had a negative impact on people’s perceptions, reinforcing bias and preconceptions.

Job changing ads
Another 2015 study by Carnegie Mellon University in the US found that Google’s ad-targeting system was more likely to show offers for job coaching services for highly-paid positions to men than women.

© Thomson Reuters 2019

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Helping Prevent Discrimination in Ads that Offer Housing, Employment or Credit Opportunities.

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iscrimination has no place on Facebook, and our advertising policies have long prohibited unlawful discrimination. Over the last year, our auditors have released two progress updates on Facebook’s Civil Rights Audit and we reached a historic settlement with leading civil rights organizations. As part of the settlement, we introduced a new process for how advertisers based in the US, or trying to reach audiences in the US, can buy ads that offer housing, employment or credit opportunities. These ads are known as Special Ad Categories and are restricted from using the following targeting criteria: age, gender, ZIP code, multicultural affinity or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics.The Latest News from Facebook for Business

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Facebook Brings WhatsApp Integration to Its Revamped Crisis Response Tool

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Social network giant Facebook is adding a WhatsApp button to crisis response tool, its disaster-reporting and communications feature where a user requests or offers help during a time of emergency. The tool is being used in 300 crises in more than 80 countries presently.

The new feature will allow people in affected areas to provide real-time information related to any disaster, TechCrunch.com reported on Tuesday.

Formerly, replies to requests on Facebook’s crisis response pages could only be sent with Facebook Messenger.

The update allow the social network to provide this information to state and local officials, as well as federal relief agencies such as Direct Relief and the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation.

Facebook is also expanding its Data for Good tools, using its data to provide relief organisations with information on where to distribute supplies, based on aggregated, anonymised data.

Additionally, Facebook is also updating its disaster maps to be more accurate in collaboration with agencies such as the International Displacement Monitoring Centre.

The new features will allow for photo and video sharing within the Crisis Response centre on Facebook.

Crisis Response originally developed out of a handful of features that help family, friends and communities support one another in the wake of a disaster.

NDTV Gadgets360.com

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Facebook to Allow Transfer of Photos, Videos to Google, Other Rivals

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Facebook started testing a tool on Monday that lets users move their images more easily to other online services, as it faces pressure from regulators to loosen its grip on data. The social network’s new tool will allow people to transfer their photos and videos directly to competing platforms, starting with Google Photos. The company said it will first be available to people in Ireland and will be refined based on user feedback.

The tool will then be rolled out worldwide in the first half of 2020.

US and European regulators have been examining Facebook’s control of personal data such as images as they look into whether the tech giant’s dominance is stifling competition and limiting choice for consumers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reacted by calling for new rules to address “data portability” and other issues.

Facebook said that as it worked on a new set of data portability tools, it had discussions with policymakers, regulators, and academics in the UK, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore to learn about which data should be portable and how to protect privacy.

The company is developing products that “take into account the feedback we’ve received and will help drive data portability policies forward by giving people and experts a tool to assess,” Steve Satterfield, director of privacy and public policy, said in a blog post.

NDTV Gadgets360.com

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