Bloomberg reports a Wall Street regulator is initiating a probe into possible gender bias in the algorithms used by Goldman Sachs to determine credit limits for the Apple Card.
The investigation was spurred by a number of tweets from last week, alleging gender discrimination in how credit limits were determined for Apple’s credit card.
A series of profane Twitter posts on Thursday from David Heinemeier Hansson asked why he was granted an Apple Card credit limit 20 times higher than his wife, even though the couple file joint tax returns and his wife actually has a better credit score than he does.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also chimed in, saying his credit limit is 10 times higher than his wife, even though they share all of their assets. Wozniak’s tweet read:
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.
Hanson says that after sharing the story on Twitter, it then “became a PR issue,” and his wife’s credit limit was increased.
“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?”
A spokesperson for the New York Department of Financial Services said the department is conducting an investigation.
“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.”
We’ll keep you posted as the story develops.