On the back of the 10 year challenge that swept Facebook recently, and may still be going but I´m not sure, it was proposed by some that his was a back handed way of Facebook testing a facial recognition software. Facebook declared they had no involvement in this trend and deny any claims the meme is inherently dangerous.
Facial recognition was introduce by Facebook way back in 2017 and began a staggered roll out of the settings notice on the official FB newsroom bulletin blog post in the December of that year, except in Canada and the EU, and still seems to be the case as of today.
See the final sentence on the link below: “We are introducing these new features in most places, except in Canada and the EU where we don’t currently offer face recognition technology.”
Basically they are using technology to help you find photos you are in, but not tagged in. Plus it offers a way for people who are visually impaired to know more about photos they come across. There’s a cool explanatory video in the link above
Whether on this occasion the #10YearChallenge was a big data scandal or not, or even a huge opportunity to train the algorithm in age progression, you may want to take precautions in your own personal settings to switch off facial recognition, if you are outside Canada and the EU. This excerpt from Wired.com may inspire you to do it sooner rather than later https://www.wired.com/story/facebook-10-year-meme-challenge/
“Facial recognition’s potential is mostly mundane: Age recognition is probably most useful for targeted advertising. Ad displays that incorporate cameras or sensors and can adapt their messaging for age-group demographics (as well as other visually recognizable characteristics and discernible contexts) will likely be commonplace before very long. That application isn’t very exciting, but stands to make advertising more relevant. But as that data flows downstream and becomes enmeshed with our location tracking, response and purchase behavior, and other signals, it could bring about some genuinely creepy interactions.”
By default recognition is switched on and even if you are not tagged in a photo Facebook can identify you. In theory it is a security measure for your benefit, so you know when your photo has appeared on Facebook, but I can’t help feeling there is in fact something ‘creepy’ about it.
This technology is currently only available in certain locations, and will only appear in your profile if you are at least 18 years old.
So whilst the conspiracy theorists have a had their say, in this instance seeing as quite a large chunk of FB users don’t have the tech it’s probably as Facebook said, just a game … for now.
I recorded a video with some additional thoughts