Snapchat posted second edition of the Annual Diversity Report, which describes the progress the company has made in its efforts meet your set goals of internal representation and improvement, while Snap too provided details on newspaper initiatives that will redesign its system tools to better serve a wider range of users.
First, the latest Diversity Report – in examining the progress in the work on achieving the goals set out in first report, Snap says it has increased representation in several key areas, although the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed its efforts in some respects.
As he explained Snapchat:
“Our data for 2020 show that since 2019, our representation has remained largely the same, while in certain priority areas we have achieved promising gains, such as almost doubling the percentage of women in technology leadership and more than doubling the employment of black women.”
Snapchat also notes that it has actually lost ground in some key areas of focus:
“The representation of Latin American / Latin American team members has declined slightly and there have been above-average rejection rates for some under-represented team members, including those who identify as blacks, Latinos, and natives.”
Snap says it has identified several shortcomings in its approach, in addition to the impact of the pandemic, which should allow it to get back on track with those elements, and has set some new goals to work on in the long run.
Snapchat has a number of internal initiatives to achieve these goals – but from an external perspective, Snap is also taking some important new initiatives that could help increase user representation and equality in a variety of ways.
The main element of this new focus is the re-examination of the Snap camera, which Snapchat says is based on inherently racist development.
Early film technology used lightweight leather as its chemical basis. As a result, cameras were initially designed with the assumption of “whiteness” built into their architecture and expected uses. This legacy continues today: cameras have not yet expanded their aperture as would encompass all communities and skin tones. “
Thus, the very foundation on which the camera is based is designed with white skin in mind, which could affect the use of people in color. Snap is working to fix this:
“We’re making a more inclusive camera that works for every Snapchatter no matter who they are or what they look like, and it’s flexible enough to support their creativity and self-expression.”
It’s an interesting consideration, and it will be equally interesting to see how Snap can develop its tools to better suit a wider circle of people.
Snap has also adopted a new “Incorporate by Design” process into its product development framework, which will ensure that more account is taken into account in each element, while also working on adding different data entries to its machine learning tools to maximize performance for a wider range of users.
“Machine learning learns from existing data, which means it learns from existing biases about race, gender identity and other characteristics. The result? These tools don’t work well for people outside the majority data set.”
This is a critical consideration – since multiple algorithms and machine learning systems determine our exposure to content, it is important to also measure the impacts of the input data of such data, which can also be biased because they are based on existing user behavior. Removing such biases could play a big role in reducing them in your audience. Instagram also has implemented new frameworks to help ensure that his machine learning systems are designed with the best care.
Overall, Snapchat seems to be focused on the right areas, and it’s especially interesting to note the various ways it wants to develop its internal models to create a more comprehensive user experience.
You can read Snap’s full 5021 diversity report from 2021 here, while Snap also posted this video review of key notes.