Here’s Why You Should Avoid Facebook’s "Ten Years Challenge"

Kelley Robertson
January 19, 2019

Started off by Kate O'Neill from her Twitter post, she sarcastically pondered about "how all this data could be mined to train facial recognition algorithm on age progression and age recognition". He mused how he's changed from that first profile picture 10 years ago and asked his followers to upload their own photos. Before you rush to delete it, remember the thing about all these viral fads is that they're fleeting. With artificial intelligence and facial recognition software going mainstream, companies are investing heavily in emerging technologies. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart - say, 10 years. Memes and games are a great way of mining personal information-the data gathered by Cambridge Analytica to do political analysis came by way of a personality quiz. We all do. And, if you're a Facebook user, it's probably a safe bet your Facebook page has photos from various stages throughout your life. "Facebook did not start this trend, and the meme uses photos that already exist on Facebook", the company wrote.

Again, this is just a conspiracy theory and Facebook claimed that they have nothing to do with the meme trend and gains nothing from it.

"Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at posting dates or EXIF data".

"Vast quantities of images cannot only be used to train a neural network to recognize specific individuals, but taken 10 years apart (could) obtain an insight onto how aging processes work", said Marina Gavrilova, head of the University of Calgary's Biometric Technologies Lab. Facebook will have access to all your old photos, but these new ones are out there on many public networks such as Instagram and Twitter, just waiting to scraped and fed into systems that are creating better and better facial recognition algorithms.


"But the technology raises major privacy concerns; the police could use the technology not only to track people who are suspected of having committed crimes, but also people who are not committing crimes, such as protesters and others whom the police deem a nuisance", she continued.

"Its evidence of the fun people have on Facebook and that's it". It might take some time to scroll back through your photos to find a photo from 10 years ago that's not too embarrassing to post, but also shows you look better now.

There would be pitfalls to the data, such as the possibility that users are lying, but Khan noted that facial age recognition is indeed a "hot research topic" with applications from surveillance to makeup apps.

It seems as though everyone we know is taking part in the "10 year challenge" on Facebook and Instagram this week.

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