The 10-year challenge meme may seem harmless, but a new report claims users’ selfies could be ammunition for far more nefarious purposes.
Millions of internet users have participated in the meme, where they upload a photo of themselves from 2009 and a snapshot of themselves from this year.
Some have since claimed that users’ selfies could unknowingly be used as part of a dataset for Facebook’s facial recognition algorithm to learn age progression and age recognition, according to Wired.
The report argues that photos uploaded with the #10yearchallenge would make it easy for a facial recognition algorithm to study a set of before-and-after photos.
In the best case scenario, this data could be used to help find missing children, using an age progression algorithm, Wired noted.
It could also be used for ad targeting, or more dystopian purposes, such as being supplied to law enforcement or insurance companies.
Facebook denied that it played any role in the meme.
‘This is a user-generated meme that went viral on its own,’ a Facebook spokesperson told Wired.
‘Facebook did not start this trend, and the meme uses photos that already exist on Facebook.
‘Facebook gains nothing from this meme (besides reminding us of the questionable fashion trends of 2009). As a reminder, Facebook users can choose to turn facial recognition on or off at any time,’ the company added.
In a tweet posted late Wednesday, Facebook added: ‘The 10-year challenge is a user-generated meme that started on its own, without our involvement. It is evidence of the fun people have on Facebook, and that’s it.’
BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Broderick noted on Twitter that similar meme challenges have popped up on the internet over the years.
In every case, the 10-year challenge meme ‘organically’ resurfaced after a few users posted now-and-then photos of themselves, which later went viral.
He cited the #2008vs2018 and #2006vs2016 memes that have been popular recently.
Others, including social media experts, argue that there’s reason to be suspicious, however.
‘It presented Facebook with a terrified opportunity to learn, to train their systems to better recognize small changes,’ Amy Webb, a professor at NYU Stern School of Business, told CBS News … read more
Source : MSN, The Daily Mail