A video that shows an automatic bathroom soap dispenser failing to detect the hand of a dark-skinned man has gone viral and raised questions about racism in technology, as well as the lack of diversity in the industry that creates it.
The now-viral video was uploaded to Twitter on Wednesday by Chukwuemeka Afigbo, Facebook’s head of platform partnerships in the Middle east and Africa.
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The video begins with a white man waving his hand under the dispenser and instantly getting soap on his first try.
Then, a darker skinned man waves his hand under the dispenser in various directions for over ten seconds, with soap never being released.
To demonstrate that skin color is the reason, he then waves a white paper towel under the dispenser and is instantly granted soap.
The tweet has been shared more than 93,000 time, and the video has more than 1.86 million views.
Others, however, argued that take on the situation is going too far and that the soap dispenser’s ability to function has nothing to do with race and diversity.
Many tied it into the current racial tensions in the US, writing this isn’t ‘a society problem’ and people are ‘just looking for a reason to fight.’
The soap dispenser appears to be this one from Shenzhen Yuekun Technology, a Chinese manufacturer.
It retails for as low as $15 each when purchased in bulk and is advertised as a ‘touchless’ disinfectant dispenser.