Blow up over Apple Card gender discrimination targets algorithms

A lone commenter on Twitter dropped a serious bomb on the Apple Card. Within days, New York's banking regulator launched a probe, Goldman Sachs had to defend its policies in the face of a tweetstorm, and the future of financial brands on social media as well as the use of data-driven algorithms got a good shaking up.

A flare-up that began on Twitter concerning allegations that the algorithm behind the Apple Card’s credit evaluation process is discriminatory against women has done more than flag a potential issue in a Big Tech’s entry into financial services through partnership.

  • The controversy underscores the volatile power of social media directed against brands and how communication through this channel transcends traditional media approaches for financial institutions.
  • It demonstrates how financial institutions can find regulatory trouble on their doorstep overnight, quite apart from any official process like examinations, in the connected world.
  • The controversy holds up algorithms and artificial intelligence for fresh examination even as more and more experts say that these technologies will improve financial life as we know it.

That’s a hell of a lot of impact from a single tweet.

Here’s a recap of what’s happened and its implications for banks and credit unions in terms of social media, crisis communication and the future of algorithms in financial services.


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