The Facebook 10 Year Challenge Might not Just be a Harmless Meme

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If you have been on Facebook or Instagram recently, you will have noticed the “10 Year Challenge”. Users post a profile picture of themselves from 10 years ago and another from now. It is meant to be a harmless meme that laughs at ourselves and late 2000s fashion. But could there be something more sinister to it? Katie O’Neil wondered in Wired if the “10 Year Challenge” is actually helping Facebook develop a facial recognition algorithm.

Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you’d want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots of people’s pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart—say, 10 years. Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at posting dates or EXIF data. But that whole set of profile pictures could end up generating a lot of useless noise…In other words, it would help if you had a clean, simple, helpfully labeled set of then-and-now photos.

Check It Out: The Facebook 10 Year Challenge Might not Just be a Harmless Meme

The Facebook 10 Year Challenge Might not Just be a Harmless Meme

4 Comments Add a comment

  1. wab95

    Charlotte:

    My son asked me the other day whether or not I was going to do the 10y challenge. When I responded in the negative, he admitted that he was planning on it. I sent him a copy of the Wired article, to which he responded with a piece from the Atlantic (the lad reads) arguing that, if one hoped to thwart surveillance capitalism by not joining in, then think again – ‘they’ already have the goods on you. I replied that The Atlantic missed the point; mine was a boycott on cooperating with a known serial privacy violator.

    That might be checkmate. The lad has not responded.

  2. MacHeritage

    This is right on the money. If people could only understand what these services like Facebook are really about. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Good find Charlotte!

  3. Lee Dronick

    “Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression”

    I am tempted to throw a sabot into the cogs by using someone else’s before photograph, Maybe Sean Connery’s.

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