Facebook Face Recognition Technology – SkyNet v2.0
Face Recognition Technology. Doesn’t sound so scary, does it?
Independently, those three words are fairly innocuous. We all like faces. The ability to recognize people or things, too, is a pretty helpful tool out in the wild. And who doesn’t love technology?
ASSHOLES, that’s who. ASSHOLES don’t love technology.
So, hell, why not drop our collective panties for Face Recognition Technology, eh?
Nope. I, for one, am yanking my granny panties up high and locking the poundcake down for this one. Why?
(Pre-text: Stop worrying about The Grand Illusion of Net Neutrality (and the Lack Thereof) right now. The internet has never been free nor open. That’s another rant for another day.)
Yesterday, Facebook announced that it will begin utilizing face recognition technology to “help users manage their identity” on that beloved platform.
“Great!” you may be saying. “I have been having sooo many problems managing my identity lately. THANK YOU, FACEBOOK, FOR HELPING ME MANAGE MY IDENTITY. CAN YOU DO MY DISHES AND DROP MY KIDS OFF AT SCHOOL FOR ME, TOO, PLEASE?”
No. No no. Nonononono.
Read the sub-heading on that MarketingLand article I linked to above and then read it again. I’ll even copy it here just for your convenience:
USERS WILL NOW BE ABLE TO LOCATE IMAGES THEY MAY APPEAR IN EVEN IF THEY HAVEN’T BEEN TAGGED IN THE PHOTO.
Let’s break this down:
- There are images of you on the internet (no duh)
- There are images of you on the internet that other people have uploaded (and?)
- Facebook can recognize you in your friends’ photos (derp, and…again…and?!)
- FACEBOOK CAN RECOGNIZE YOU IN ANYONE’S PHOTO
That, my sweeties, is some scary shit. Think about it. A computer program accessible by nearly everyone in the world can identify you–not just in photos posted by your friends and families, but IN PHOTOS TAKEN BY PEOPLE YOU ARE NOT EVEN CONNECTED TO.
It can recognize you in the crowd photo posted by your favorite band the day after you attended their concert. It can recognize you, standing in line at Knottsberry Farm, in a photo posted by some Japanese tourist who just happened to be visiting California the same week as you. It can recognize you in the background of a particularly vulgar peopleofwalmart.com photo, as you were so innocently sifting through discount DVDs (Beetlejuice for 5 bucks, score!!) while some toothless crack addict flashed her boobs at her boyfriend’s iPhone.
In fact, Facebook probably knows your face better than your own mother does.
I’m just as guilty as you. The very reason why Facebook is able to do this is because, over the years, I’ve provided them with hundreds–if not thousands–of pictures of my face. Selfies. Family gatherings. Parties. Christmas. They know what I looked like as a child, they know what I look like now, and they know what I looked like in all the years between. They know what I look like sober, they know what I look like drunk. Thankfully, they don’t know what I look like naked…
…or do they?
They appealed to my ego. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when someone I hated in high-school and haven’t spoken to in 20 years “liked” my profile photo and commented, “Lookin good!” Made me want to post more. Made me crave that interaction. Over time, made me feel like I was missing out on my friends’ and family’s lives if I wasn’t actively engaged in every moment of their existence. I just had to know everything everyone was doing or else I felt like a horrible “friend.” A horrible human being.
And that goddamned ticker. Ugh. It’s not enough to be “connected.” Facebook wants you to know what your friends like, when they like it, and what they have to say about it.
It’s the world’s largest reality show. In real time.
Like cheap vodka, Facebook can be awesome if you use it responsibly. But I didn’t use it responsibly. I gave those bastards everything they wanted, and now they know more about me than I could’ve ever wanted.
And I’m not alone.
What can we do about it?
I don’t even know.
The needle and the damage is done.
And it’s far more worrisome than having to pay a few more bucks every month for Netflix.