How Pinterest Creates Inclusive Online Environments

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In our new global environment where one click or even a Facetime call can warp you to the other side of the world, it has become increasingly important to acknowledge the diversity that lives in us all. Combine this with the will of younger generations to speak up in the face of adversity and racial bias and you get an environment where it is easy to identify those who are working towards building inclusivity. 

Inclusivity is a responsibility. As a visual inspiration platform, Pinterest believes it has an opportunity and a responsibility to ensure our product is not only making people feel inspired but also represented.

The time to expand beauty standards is now

There was a time where Black people were not only excluded but not even considered in the beauty and personal care industries. Many products were created for white audiences and consumers only.

Finding a kind of lotion or hair moisturizer was surely difficult where none of the products or advertisements was curated with the variances of Black skin and hair in mind. This atmosphere left plenty to be desired for the self-care and self-expressive audiences within the Black community.

Pinterest introduces Skin tone and Hair pattern search features

Pinterest’s Inclusive Product team aims to be a catalyst for change in the beauty and lifestyle spaces. The team has been harWith millions of people coming to Pinterest for hair and beauty inspiration, the Pinterest Inclusive Product team’s mission is to ensure that everyone feels like Pinterest is a place for them. The team began its journey on the beauty side and has been hard at work since introducing the skin tone range feature in 2018. This well-formed tool allows its users to easily find the most relevant results based on their searches and has continued to expand in functionality. Skin-tone ranges are now available in nineteen countries around the world.

With billions of pins, the company leveraged cutting edge machine learning and AI technology to produce algorithms with billions of pins, the company leveraged cutting-edge machine learning and AI technology to produce algorithms that map to widely used keywords. Now, inquiries like “make-up makeover” and “fall eyeshadow” prompt users to select a specific skin tone range and yields more spot-on inspiration.

AR Try on for lipstick shades

The other game-changing technology presented by Pinterest is the hair pattern search which was created with Black, Brown and Latinx Pinners in mind and empowers users to search for hair inspiration across hair types.  Pinterest’s Head of Inclusive Product, Annie Ta, pulled in resources from industry-leading beauty professionals to hone in on the importance of inclusive coding methods. Before this integration, a search for “curly hairstyles” would prompt millions of pins that displayed slightly wavy hair and missed the mark for many Pinners. Now, with new hair pattern search technology, the platform displays a spectrum of options including coily, protective, bald/shaved, big chop, curly and so much more. Brand partner and celebrity hairstylist Naeemah LaFond adds, “Just the simple idea that I don’t have to work twice as hard to find a hairstyle because of my hair type is a game-changer.”

As a visual inspiration platform, through its inclusive product features like skin tone and hair pattern search, Pinterest is working to be a place and a product where everyone feels a sense of belonging.

animate gif of pinterest hair search function

Inclusivity means everyone gets a mirror

These tools, along with some user-sensitive advertising changes and culturally appropriate sensitivities add validation to Pinterest’s diversity and inclusion efforts. The platform allows users to create digital vision boards of pictures and links that inspire and motivate them in their day-to-day lives.

The visual discovery engine understands that people will not be inspired if they don’t feel represented. This speaks volumes to the largely ignored world of the diaspora. Their goals also align with the work of the BYP, a platform that highlights, demonstrates, and motivates the idea of inclusivity and champion what these depictions can mean for us.

To learn more about Pinterest or to apply for their available opportunities please visit their BYP jobs board here.

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