And the Facebook shenanigans continue.
It’s nowhere near as sinister as the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, but the latest news being reported about Facebook filing a patent on tech that predicts which selfie filter is best for you based on your facial expression is pretty attention-grabbing, for better or for worse. Mashable reports that the patent, which was filed in 2016 but has only been made public now, details technology that operates in tandem with Facebook’s “masks” (the term Facebook uses for selfie filters). Per the patent, the tech requires you to open Facebook’s photo function, look into the camera, and then the tech would go about “identifying an emotion” as it reads your face and then, based on what it determines, would end up “selecting, based on the emotion, a mask from a set of masks.”
The patent identifies some of the possible masks it that would be involved, including selecting a “happy panda” filter if it can detect the user’s facial expression is similar to happy or an Angry Birds mask if the user is believed to be something akin to angry (which raises a whole other set of questions about whether Facebook understands the emotion that is anger, but we digress). In addition to reading your face and selecting a filter, there is a chance the mask chosen for the user would be affected by the user's detected location, profile data, or what’s in the photo.
This new tech is all reliant upon Facebook cracking emotion-detection software and integrating it into Facebook, which could very well happen since Facebook has filed other patents in the past for other tech based on emotion-detection software. But there's no way of telling just how serious Facebook is about following through on this patent, especially if it’s two years old and this is the first we’re hearing about it. But we’re not gonna lie: this all sounds a little too invasive and Black Mirror-y to be a totally good thing.