Social media site Facebook has been looking into developing a method for dealing with spam bots and fake profiles. Its latest attempt aims to utilize facial video technology to help rid the site of these suspected malicious accounts. The verification feature, discovered by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, tasks users with recording a short selfie video and asks users to turn their head from side to side so that the camera can record all angles.
Experimental Technology at Work
Facebook confirmed that it was experimenting with the technology to verify users. However, the spokesperson from the social media site insisted that facial recognition technology was not part of the algorithm they used. Instead, the video processing algorithm would note the movement of the subject and whether a face shows up in the recording. The methodology that Facebook asks users to conform to when submitting their videos suggests that the data may be used later on for facial recognition training, even though the company refuses to comment on whether that may be so. Facebook already uses verification techniques that ask users to send in a copy of their picture ID to ensure a user is a real person.
A Potentially Problematic Tech
The use of facial recognition software has come under intense scrutiny as of late. Cities like San Francisco have banned their public offices from using any facial recognition technology. Tech giants Amazon and Microsoft have noted the need for legislation to deal with the use and abuse of the technology. If this data is being stored on Facebook’s internal servers, then users may need to worry. Facebook has a track record for leaking sensitive data and having information such as machine-readable scans of user facial features can be dangers if it were to fall into the wrong hands.
While the company states that it isn’t using that data for facial recognition purposes, there is no guarantee other companies won’t if they manage to get that user data. Sadly, Facebook is not very clear on how the data will be stored, raising even more questions about the project. There is still no date as to when or if this verification feature will become mainstream.