Facebook Forced To Deny That The 10 Year Challenge Is For Facial Recognition

Unless you’ve been AFK for the last month, you’ll know that the ’10 year challenge’ has been doing the rounds over a variety of social media platforms.

It’s not so much of a challenge, but more of a ‘here’s a picture of me 10 years ago, and here’s what I look like now’ kind of thing.

Although it’s obviously just a bit of fun, and a chance for us to all laugh at how awkward we were 10 years ago (while simultaneously pretending that we’re no longer like that), some people seem to think that it’s actually just a way for Facebook to keep tabs on us.


Now, Facebook has actually responded to the claims on Twitter of all places.

Replying to a Tweet, the social networking site said: “The 10 year challenge is a user-generated meme that started on its own, without our involvement. It’s evidence of the fun people have on Facebook, and that’s it.”

The idea came from a Wired.com article, where the author posed this scenario: “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.

“Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at posting dates or EXIF data. But that whole set of profile pictures could end up generating a lot of useless noise. People don’t reliably upload pictures in chronological order, and it’s not uncommon for users to post pictures of something other than themselves as a profile picture. A quick glance through my Facebook friends’ profile pictures shows a friend’s dog who just died, several cartoons, word images, abstract patterns, and more.

“In other words, it would help if you had a clean, simple, helpfully labeled set of then-and-now photos.”

But, it’s not the case. So everyone get back to the next fad.

Featured image credit: Facebook/CNBC