Don't miss the latest stories
Why Viral ‘#10YearChallenge’ Might Not Be As Harmless A Meme As You Thought
By Yoon Sann Wong, 17 Jan 2019
Image via Shutterstock and Shutterstock
Unless you have completely logged out of social media, you would have, by now, caught wind of the viral ‘#10YearChallenge’ that has social media users sharing side-by-side photos of themselves one decade apart.
Even celebrities such as Brie Larson, Ellen DeGeneres, and Steve Aoki have joined in by sharing hilarious renditions for laughs.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Ellen (@theellenshow) on
While it all seems like fun and games, an intriguing op-ed by Kate O’Neill on WIRED has highlighted a dark side of the seemingly innocuous meme—whose creator remains unknown—that might make you sit up and take notice.
Following the op-ed piece that suspects all the photos could be used by Facebook to surreptitiously mine data to enhance its facial recognition algorithms, Facebook apparently began distancing itself from the ‘#10YearChallenge’ on Wednesday according to CBS News. After Facebook’s slew of privacy scandals and data violations, it comes with little surprise that concerns have surfaced over how the information could be used.
Amy Webb, a professor at NYU Stern School of Business, told CBS News that the meme challenge has given Facebook “a perfect storm for machine learning.”
The challenge provides an ideal opportunity for the social media giant to learn and train its systems to better recognize minute changes in users’ appearances, added Webb.
Within three days, the challenge churned up 5.2 million engagements on Facebook, based on data by social analytical tool Talkwalker.
Unlike photos that users randomly upload to social media networks in no specific order, the ‘#10YearChallenge’ has anchored a distinct time frame in two side-by-side images that allows technology to track facial features and study how individuals age.
Facebook has clarified that it neither played a role in this challenge nor reaped any benefits from it.
“This is a user-generated meme that went viral on its own. Facebook did not start this trend, and the meme uses photos that already exist on Facebook,” the company declared in a statement. “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.”
While the ‘#10YearChallenge’ serves as an entertaining social experiment that has amused many around the world, it’s also stirred mindful consideration about the potential risks and implications of data-sharing online, as well as the power of progressive technological innovations such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence.
I don't get this 10 year challenge, time is not something I acknowledge. 🤷♀️ *Picture taken at some point prior to today pic.twitter.com/f5XUye3Hot— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) January 16, 2019
[via CBS News, main image via Shutterstock and Shutterstock]
More related news
Also check out these recent news