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Is the Facebook '10 year challenge' people are posting harmless?

Posted at 9:37 AM, Jan 16, 2019

If you're a Facebook user, have you shared side-by-side photos of yourself taken 10 years ago and one taken recently?

If so, you are definitely not alone as many folks have done this "challenge". But tech writer Kate O'Neill posed this question on Twitter recently: is it possible this "could be mined to train facial recognition algorithms on age progression and age recognition?"

The response to O'Neill's proposal has been mixed. Some have called it a conspiracy theory, while others praise her for bringing the topic to the forefront.

One person responded to tell her Facebook already has it anyway — these photos were likely already on the social media networking site and therefore the challenge isn't spurring anything new.

Others point out that some folks are using photos they had not posted before.

O'Neill's tweet was been liked more than 13,500 times and responded to by more than 5,000 people. It's a hot topic.

O'Neill says what sets this "challenge" apart from simply posting photos is that they are clearly labeled as "then and now" and make it easier for data mining. It's easier than sifting through everything else because this gives context as people write things with the photo, like this was taken by ... and I was in such-and-such location when this was taken.

The mining of these posts is made a little more difficult as some Facebook users have posted photos that aren't them in attempts to be comical. O'Neill points out that data mining software is probably more sophisticated and can weed those posts out.

Social games, memes ... anything in which a user has to enter data ... are questionable. Social media users are urged to think hard before entering data into anything and sharing it to the masses.

Read O'Neill's full "10 Year Challenge" column on Wired.

Do you think it's safe to do the Facebook "10 Year Challenge"? Take our poll and let us know.