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Apple Card accused of gender bias, an investigation opens

A viral tweet got the intention of investigators.
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An investigation is opening into Goldman Sachs and in relation to alleged gender discrimination with Apple Card’s algorithms that determine how much credit to offer each user.

Apple Card launched in the summer and is a new initiative for Apple to increase service revenue and is supposed to “rethink everything about the credit card.”

A viral tweet on November 7th from the creator of Ruby on Rails sparked the incident when David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted out his distain when his Apple Card application gave him 20x the amount of credit that his wife was offered – even though they both file their tax returns jointly and she has a better credit score than he does.

“The @AppleCard is such a f*cking sexist program. My wife and I filed joint tax returns, live in a community-property state, and have been married for a long time. Yet Apple’s black box algorithm thinks I deserve 20x the credit limit she does. No appeals work,” DHH said on Twitter.

“It gets even worse. Even when she pays off her ridiculously low limit in full, the card won’t approve any spending until the next billing period. Women apparently aren’t good credit risks even when they pay off the fucking balance in advance and in full.”

Now, according to a Wall Street regulator a new probe is opening to into whether Apple Card’s algorithms are discriminating based on gender.

“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 to Bloomberg. “Any algorithm, that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law.”

“Our credit decisions are based on a customer’s creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law,” said Goldman spokesman Andrew Williams from the bank behind Apple Card.

DHH reacted to the news of the investigation on Twitter.

“I hear that this has turned into a formal internal complaint that’s being investigated. Hopefully a moment to revisit some assumption about black-box algorithms, bias, and customer service!”

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