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Facebook’s AI labels black men as ‘primates,’ embarrassed tech giant says sorry

Facebook’s AI labels black men as ‘primates,’ embarrassed tech giant says sorry

Facebook users who recently watched a video from British tabloid Daily Mail featuring black men saw an automated prompt from the social network that asked if they would like to "keep seeing videos about primates" which has come as a major embarrassment for the US tech giant.

Facebook on Friday apologised for the blunder and said it has disabled the artificial intelligence-powered feature that pushed the message and has launched an investigation into the issue.

Facebook said in its apology that it was "an unacceptable error" and was looking into the recommendation feature to "prevent this from happening again".

The video, dated June 27, 2020, was by The Daily Mail and featured clips of black men in altercations with white civilians and police officers. While humans are among the many species in the primate family, the video had nothing to do with monkeys, chimpanzees or gorillas.

A screen capture of the recommendation was shared on Twitter by a former Facebook content design manager Darci Groves to bring it to the notice of her former colleagues.

"This 'keep seeing' prompt is unacceptable. It is horribly egregious," Groves tweeted.

Facebook said in a statement: "As we have said, while we have made improvements to our AI, we know it's not perfect, and we have more progress to make. We apologise to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations."

Facial recognition software has come in for strong criticism from civil rights advocates who point out problems with accuracy, particularly when it comes to people who are not white.