Is Facebook’s ‘10 Year Challenge’ a creepy facial recognition gambit?

Is Facebook’s ‘10 Year Challenge’ a creepy facial recognition gambit?

Is Facebook’s ‘10 Year Challenge’ a creepy facial recognition gambit?

Written by Nathasha De Alwis

17 Jan, 2019 | 12:12 pm

Colombo (News1st): The social media feeds have been flooded with then and now pictures showing the “glow-up” or positive transformation of people, sharing decade-old images of themselves, alongside current photographs.

Although the meme that’s bloomed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter it is a great way to show how much you’ve changed over the years, and users are freely sharing the images, one technologist and follower of the meme pondered whether the entire challenge was actually something more sinister and sparked a discussion about the technology in the process.

Kate O’Neill, author of the book “Tech Humanist”, noted that if you were training a facial recognition program on age-related traits, it would be useful to have a large data set taken at a fixed number of years apart.

Kate O’Neil said on twitter, “Thanks to this meme, there’s now a very large data set of carefully curated photos of people from 10 years ago and now. Is it bad that someone could use it to train a facial recognition algorithm? Not necessarily,” noting that such technology could be used to find missing children.

A number of technology companies, including Facebook and Amazon, have been criticized about the privacy implications of facial recognition technology.

The obvious rebuttal to O’Neill’s musings is that Facebook already has a trove of photos of each user over the years, which it does use to develop facial recognition technology.

But as she points out, it is difficult for the company to know exactly when some of the older photos were taken.

Although O’Neill said that facial recognition technology will likely be most useful for targeted advertising, she emphasized in several follow-up tweets that users should remain vigilant with what they share, regardless of the social platform.

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