Is the FaceBook 10-year challenge a way to collect data for facial recognition.

23/07/2024 20mins
Ajish Prakash


Are you unknowingly sharing too much on social media?
Every day millions of people willingly feed Facebook that has a  massive appetite for data. They do it because they want to. Having said that, Facebook's 10-year challenge is taking over social media where it asks you to post a picture of yourself from 10 years ago with the current one side-by-side. The trend is going viral on Instagram as well. Even celebrities are following this challenge at the front.

While it may seem harmless for people who are posting their now-and-then images on Facebook, those in the tech world are wondering if the challenge is a way to mine data? The millions of publicly-shared photos are perfect for data mining because they create an easily accessible database of side-by-side comparison over a decade. Many experts believe that Facebook is using AI technology. This is a very advanced technology that measures the distance between your eyes, and different facial features that you have. Their likely usage is to train Artificial Intelligence software on how to profile people based on age progression and age recognition.

Social Media Challenge Raises Concerns on Twitter
Greg Britton, Editorial Director of the Johns Hopkins University Press, and Author of Tech Humanist, Kate O'Neill, shared in a tweet regarding this trend. They both agree with the idea of how Facebook is using all these photos for training their AI. This is because ideally a wide and rigorous data set would be needed to accomplish such a task. Researchers believe that when a platform makes million facial images accessible that are a decade apart, it helps in developing a powerful algorithm. Other than that, when data is spaced with a precise timeline, it gives a fixed aging pattern. It can be used to train a neural network to identify specific individuals and gives insight about how the aging process works.  

Facebook's response
According to Facebook, it's a user-generated meme without our involvement. It shows how people want to do fun on Facebook. At any time, users are allowed to turn facial recognition on or off. This drills down to the fact that Facebook is not currently tracking 10-year challenge for facial recognition. However, Facebook uses facial recognition method which has many positive uses. For instance, you upload a photo or someone uploaded a photo of yours, the platform may ask you for photo tagging suggestions. Behind the scenes, Facebook also uses image recognition technology for valuable purposes, such as recognition of spams and to spot graphic violence.

The memories are priceless but they shouldn't come at the cost of your privacy. It's fine to share your pictures but check your privacy settings. Be careful about any meme that encourages sharing data in a certain way.  Since a lot of times, people don't know what the source behind such viral memes is. So, think about what you're sharing before you do. However, as a user, you must also know the benefits that facial recognition technology comes with.


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