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Facebook photo recognition fail

Posted on 2013.09.14 at 20:54
So Facebook now has image recognition. When you upload a new picture to FB, it automatically tries to match it against existing photos of all your friends (whether you posted them or not). Which, when you think about it, is pretty creepy. (Here's how to turn it off, courtesy of my friend Jennifer Wamsley.) I'm not sure why they did that, really. It seems like an awful lot of work for something most people probably wouldn't really want (or, even if they do like it, aren't likely to care about that much). Then again, FB doesn't exist to cater to its users. It exists to cater to advertisers and data miners. Which makes the whole face recognition thing even more creepy.

Anyway, yesterday I uploaded this picture that I made. Because it amused me:

(Description: A picture of Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart. Caption: Mild-mannered newspaper reporter. Big dorky glasses. Named Capehart. Draw your own conclusions. With the S in the middle of "conclusions" replaced by a Superman symbol.)

Facebook processed that picture and automatically tagged it as a picture of my friend Daniel. Who looks like this:

(It's an old small avatar image I found. He doesn't have too many public pictures that I could find. His current FB profile picture is a potato with a face drawn on it.)

Now, at a casual glance, the two might appear similar. They do both wear glasses, have short, dark hair, and somewhat similarly shaped noses. You will, however, notice that there are many differences between the two faces. For example, their ears and mouths are shaped differently. Also their eyebrows. And Jonathan is at least a decade older than Dan, probably two. Oh, yes, and also their respective skin colors are just about as far apart as humans get.

I think FB's algorithm needs some work...


clarwyn kinne
beansideirae at 2013-09-15 03:37 (UTC) (Link)
I've had that option on my facebook for quite a while. I was going to say I just always exit out of it.... but then I realized that it's usually *right* for me, so I usually allow it. I do agree it's creepy in principle.
batgirl1 at 2013-09-16 19:12 (UTC) (Link)
Obviously, your friend has a double (possibly triple) identity and just hasn't told you. ;)
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