Twitter has officially announced that it does not crop image previews on the web version. The company previously had stopped automatically cropping images on the mobile version too. This comes after a lot of backlash from users who claimed the feature is acting biased based on race and gender.
The new version will show portrait images in full-size format, and the algorithm can’t crop them. Of course, the tweets that contain images embedded into a website are excluded. These types of images are cropped to fit into the page. Moreover, when a user links to an article on the web, the image is cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Dates back to October 2020, the company announced a fix to its auto-crop feature by changing its algorithm and giving users more control over uploaded images. As criticism mounted, Twitter said it would do more analysis to check if its algorithm was acting biased.
“Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing. But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’ll continue to share what we learn, what actions we take, and will open source our analysis so others can review and replicate.” A Twitter spokesperson said in a statement in September 2020.
Some users believe Twitter image cropping algorithm was performing biased
Since day one, the auto-crop feature has been a controversial issue for the company. Some users claimed that the algorithm crops white faces in an image containing both white and black faces. Twitter promised to check into the issue and announced its algorithm wasn’t very biased. However, the company finally decided to disable it to prevent any more arguments.
The auto-crop feature had some benefits to the websites and could increase their engagement rate. However, disabling it may be more enjoyable for users because they no longer have to click to see the full image.
Of course, Twitter has always been active against racial and gender issues. The company had removed over 2000 racist tweets during Euro 2020 soccer games. Most of these tweets came from the UK.