Facebook and Instagram have been accused of having racist algorithms in the past. That is, their algorithms favour white and eurocentric looking creators, having an adverse effect on Black, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous, and other people of colour.
One of the main issues with this is that BIPOC influencers are guaranteed to reach fewer people, meaning that they can’t make as much money as their white counterparts. Following the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement across the globe, an Instagram representative confirmed that Facebook has finally committed to looking into why their algorithms have a racial bias, and what they can do about it.
The shift in approach also came following a month-long advertising boycott under the #StopHateForProfit movement organized by the Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, the NAACP, and other civil rights groups. The boycott included the likes of Coca-Cola, Disney, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Walmart.
Historically, Facebook has refused to examine its impact on racial inequality within its sites and apps, but it has now appointed an internal equity team to tackle the problem. The move was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Speaking to The Verge, Vishal Shah, the vice president of product for Instagram, said: “The racial justice movement is a moment of real significance for our company. Any bias in our systems and policies runs counter to providing a platform for everyone to express themselves.
“While we’re always working to create a more equitable experience, we are setting up additional efforts to continue this progress — from establishing the Instagram Equity Team to Facebook’s Inclusive Product Council.”