Let’s talk algorithms…
Unfortunately, when the social media giants of today were engineered by men who are straight, white, cis and non-disabled, algorithmic biases were to be expected. What we measure said platforms on now is their attitudes towards rectifying them.
YouTube has already announced that it’s soon launching a voluntary creator survey to monitor the impact of its algorithms on specific communities (although, disappointingly, not including disability
at this stage). Twitter, meanwhile, is still struggling to address the abuse and ableism on the platform - as seen with certain trending hashtags
used to criticise former US president Donald Trump.
While Facebook has its independent Oversight Board
, none of the handful of cases selected by the group of academics look at content removed by the platform which concerns disability. Of course, the Board is likely to examine content of a more political nature with high levels of public interest (see their current case
on Trump’s indefinite ban from Facebook and Instagram), but at least some
acknowledgement of this kind of algorithmic bias would be welcomed in the future.
Algorithmic bias will always be a retrospective problem for platforms to tackle, but some sites just aren’t acting fast enough.