Was Facebook's "Ten-Year Challenge" A Facial Recognition Trap?
Like any of the great meme tsunamis, the ten-year challenge either dominated your social media feeds for weeks or you missed it entirely. If you're in the latter category, know that it was just a thing where people posted pictures of themselves in 2009 and 2019 side by side and then got sad about it, because that's what we do online now.
A rumor soon spread that social media giants like Facebook could utilize the photos to help train facial recognition programs. Naturally, this snowballed into the claim that Facebook itself was behind the challenge so that it could collect all those neatly arranged photos for its own devious reasons, to update its outdated face databases or whatever.
After all, why do the work of sorting billions of photos when they can just call it a fun game and convince us sheep to do it ourselves? "Hey everyone, let's play the 'Share private information you try to keep from advertisers' game! The prize, as always, is nothing!"
So Is It Bullshit?
Look, almost any bad thing you assume about Facebook is probably true. They'll invade your privacy, give out your information, and warp your political views faster than you can slap your greasy finger on a "Like" button. But nostalgic comparison memes are pretty damn common, and the origins of this most recent one are about as straightforward as these things go.