A Wall Street regulator is said to be opening a probe into Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg reports this weekend. This investigation comes after a series of viral tweets last week alleged that gender discrimination was affecting the algorithms used to determine credit limits for Apple Card.
On Thursday, David Heinemeier Hansson took to Twitter to question why Apple Card gave him a credit limit 20 times higher than his wife. According to Hansson, he and his wife file joint tax returns, and his wife actually has a better credit score than he does.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also joined in, saying that he got a credit limit 10 times higher than his wife, even though they share all of their assets. Wozniak wrote:
The same thing happened to us. I got 10x the credit limit. We have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets. Hard to get to a human for a correction though. It’s big tech in 2019.
Hansson told Bloomberg that after he shared the story on Twitter, and it “became a PR issue,” his wife’s credit limit was increased without need for any additional documentation:
“As soon as this became a PR issue, they immediately bumped up her credit limit without asking for any additional documentation,” he said in an interview. “My belief isn’t there was some nefarious person wanting to discriminate. But that doesn’t matter. How do you know there isn’t an issue with the machine-learning algo when no one can explain how this decision was made?”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the New York Department of Financial Services said that the department is conducting an investigation to ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex. The spokesperson points out that an algorithm resulting in discriminatory treatment of any protected class of people is a violation of New York law, whether it’s intentional or not.
“The department will be conducting an investigation to determine whether New York law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex,” said a spokesman for Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services. “Any algorithm, that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law.”
You can read Hansson’s full Twitter thread here.
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