In fresh approach, Facebook now denying allegations that haven’t even been made


The internet isn’t what it used to be.

Facebook has been compelled to comment further on a Wired story contemplating the meaning behind that 10-year meme that’s been doing the rounds lately. You know, compare a picture of yourself from then and now (which is as much about how good cameras are now than anything else).

Here’s what Wired’s Kate O’Neill posited:

Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you’d want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots of people’s pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart—say, 10 years.

Now, O’Neill doesn’t – for a moment – say she thinks Facebook is behind the meme. She included a quote from them to push home that point. She’s just exploring what the possibilities might be if it had been. It’s a useful look at how memes like this could be used to compel the public to quickly organise data for machine learning purposes. It’s worth thinking about.

But after a tweet did the rounds, Facebook commented again, with a snark that propels this think piece into a fresh day’s news cycle:

Oh dear. I have to say, I do have a little empathy towards a PR team that must feel it is having hundreds of turds thrown at it daily, only some of which it was responsible for, er, producing.