Melissa Bradley’s mission to help women and people of color build their businesses stems from the hardships she faced as a young entrepreneur.
The 52-year-old, co-founder of the mentorship tech platform Ureeka and a Georgetown University professor, started her first company shortly after she graduated from college 30 years ago. The business’s mission was to provide financial literacy services to parents.
Bradley says that when she went to a government agency for a loan, she was told she had three strikes against her: She was Black, she was a woman and the person said she didn’t know any successful Black women in finance.
Bradley, who recently participated in the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and CNBC + Acorns Invest in You’s “Rebuilding Better: A Virtual Town Hall for America’s Small & New Business Owners,” still managed to get her company off the ground. “I bootstrapped,”
Over the past several weeks, there has been an increasing clamour for Facebook to place its India public policy head, Ankhi Das, on leave as the company continues with an audit of its India operations.
The impetus for the audit was an article written by the Wall Street Journal in mid-August. In that piece, WSJ reported that Das had resisted against taking down inflammatory content that eventually sparked rioting in the capital city of Delhi as it was posted by members of the nationalist BJP party.
The riots left over fifty dead, most of whom were Muslims. It also led to many of these Muslims’ homes being torched.
“The company’s top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to [T Raja] Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence,” WSJ reported.
Twitter this week announced it would be changing how image cropping works on its website after concerns that the machine learning-based algorithm the company was using was racially biased in how it cropped images, in particular by favoring white faces over Black ones.
In a post diving into the issue, Parag Agrawal, the company’s chief technology officer, and design chief Dantley Davis explained how the company tested the model for racial or gender bias before it implemented the system. But Twitter didn’t publish how it had done those tests at the time so that external analysis could be performed, in what the company calls “an oversight.”
“What you see is what you get”
To fix that, Twitter is “currently conducting additional analysis to add further rigor to our testing, are committed to sharing our findings, and are exploring ways
Twitter has pledged that it will continually test its algorithms for bias and give users more choice in how images appear on its platform.
“While our analyses to date haven’t shown racial or gender bias, we recognize that the way we automatically crop photos means there is a potential for harm,” Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal and CDO Dantley Davis wrote in a blog post.
“We should’ve done a better job of anticipating this possibility when we were first designing and building this product.
“We are currently conducting additional analysis to add further rigor to our testing, are committed to sharing our findings, and are exploring ways to open-source our analysis so that others can help keep us accountable.”
See also: What is bias in AI really, and why can’t AI neutralize it?
The pair added that Twitter would decrease its reliance on using machine learning for
Such attacks aren’t new for Trump, who for years has charged that Facebook, Google, Twitter and other popular Web platforms limit the reach of prominent conservative users and news sites. He often has provided scant evidence for his claims, which tech companies vehemently deny.
But the president has ratcheted up his attacks in recent months, as social media companies increasingly take more active, aggressive steps to limit Trump’s most controversial tweets and posts — particularly out of concern they may seed doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 election and in some cases carry the potential to incite violence.
The president delivered his broadside Wednesday alongside nine Republican state attorneys general, some of whom echoed Trump’s belief that technology companies exhibit political bias against conservatives. U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr later appeared to encourage the GOP leaders in attendance to take action, stressing that the federal government does not
Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday the Department of Justice has submitted legislation to Congress to reform the part of the US law that gives tech companies broad powers to moderate their platforms.
Barr said the proposed legislation is aimed at “requiring greater transparency and accountability when platforms remove lawful speech.”
The legislation follows on from an executive order issued by President Trump in May targeting social media for alleged anti-conservative bias.
Trump often claims online platforms are biased against conservatives, but has provided minimal evidence backing this up.
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President Trump is ramping up the pressure on social media companies.