According to the latest news, Twitter has announced holding a competition in hopes that hackers and researchers will be able to identify biases in its image cropping algorithm. Twitter is going to give cash prizes to winning teams. The story was first published by Engadget.
In simple words, Twitter is considering giving 3rd party teams access to its code and image cropping model in order to find ways that the algorithm could be harmful. Those competing will have to submit a description of their findings along with a dataset that can be used to run through the algorithm to demonstrate the issue.
Depending upon the level of harm detected by the algorithms, Twitter will assign points. The winning team will win a prize of $3,500, and there are separate $1,000 prizes for the most innovative and most generalizable findings. However, it seems, hackers and researchers are not happy with the prize money because some of them have twitted that the work demands an extra zero.
Twitter’s normal bug bounty program pays $2,940 if someone finds a bug that lets him or her perform actions for someone else using cross-site scripting. Similarly, finding an OAuth issue that lets someone take over someone else’s Twitter account would bring you $7,700.
It is to be noted that Twitter has already done its own research into its image cropping algorithm. Back in May, Twitter published a paper investigating how the algorithm was biased after being accused that previous crops were racist.
Twitter will get a good number of feedbacks due to this open competition. The Twitter team held space to discuss the competition during which a team member mentioned getting questions about caste-based biases in the algorithm, something that may not be noticeable to software developers in California.
In its announcement blog, Twitter says that the competition is separate from its bug bounty program.
Twitter has clarified that if you submit a report about algorithmic biases to Twitter outside the competition, the company would not consider your report. Interested people who wish to take part in the competition can head over to the competition’s HackerOne page to see the rules and criteria. Submissions are open till 6th August at 11:59 PM PT and winners will be announced at the Def Con AI Village on 9th August.