Last week, The Washington Post ran a profile of Predictim, a startup that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to determine whether a given individual would be an acceptable babysitter. The service arrives at those conclusions by scraping data from those individuals’ social media accounts and analyzing it to look for red flags like drug use and “bad attitudes.”
In response, many people criticized the startup, saying that its use of AI was unscientific. Now Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have all taken action against Predictim by either limiting or revoking the company’s access to data. Meanwhile, Predictim CEO Sal Parsa protested, saying that the company hadn’t done anything wrong. “Everyone looks people up on social media, they look people up on Google,” he said. “We’re just automating this process.”
The conflict has ignited a larger debate about privacy, data scraping, AI and the role large social media companies play in daily life.