Social Content Scraping Apps and Algorithms Under the Microscope

Social Content Scraping Apps and Algorithms Under the Microscope

Babysitter Bias Woes for Social Media Platforms

Amidst another torrid week for Facebook on a number of fronts, the company and social media rival Twitter also had to deal with the controversy surrounding babysitting app Predictim. The app scrapes the social media profiles of prospective nannies and provides an assessment of whether they pose a risk, essentially using algorithms to make a judgment on somebody’s suitability for hire, as reported here by the BBC’s North American tech correspondent Dave Lee.

It highlights again some of the comms challenges faced by social media platforms caused by third party apps. As Facebook investigates the Predictim app and Twitter blocks it, the lines are clearly blurred over how much responsibility the platforms have to protect users from the content they themselves have posted. The bigger story for Facebook this week was, of course, the amazing developments with the UK House of Commons’ Serjeant-at-Arms seizing documents from Six4Three… another third party app that uses an algorithm to analyse user content and flag pictures of women in bikinis.

The Commons committee is trying to assess Facebook’s privacy policies through documents seized, but both of these two stories underline the shift in focus on how social media platforms police the use of even published material by users. The ethical questions are strong with these and many other third party apps and the platforms are coming to grips with the reputational risk of not tackling sketchy players.

Dominic Weeks
Head of Technology, Madano

A version of this post originally appeared on the Madano blog, an AVENIR GLOBAL company.


Posted on December 3, 2018 in Artificial Intelligence

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About the Author

With over a decade of PR agency experience, split evenly across both sides of the Atlantic, Dominic has extensive experience building award-winning PR programs for clients. As Vice President, he offers strategic positioning and creative campaign recommendations that help companies increase brand awareness and drive action among their target audiences. Specializing in technology, security and financial services accounts in both the B2B and B2C realms, he has a proven track record of driving successful campaigns for clients from blue chip corporations to start-ups. Dominic has also been responsible for expanding SHIFT’s international network over the last three years, building relationships with some of the world’s best independent agencies. Prior to joining SHIFT, Dominic was a member of the team at London-based corporate communications agency Fishburn Hedges. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Oxford. You can follow Dominic on Twitter @DominicWeeks
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