[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Billions of Instagram photos quietly harvested by Facebook

Facebook announced at their last F8 conference that the company has been collecting Instagram photos in order to “enhance the company’s artificial intelligence technology.”

Were users aware?

Nope. Once more, Facebook has dropped a proverbial bomb, this time on Instagram users, when announcing that 3.5 billion photos have been harvested by the company.

Many were shocked to hear chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer reveal “[Facebook] built some breakthrough technology that takes publicly available, hashtagged images at an unprecedented scale.”

Facebook and Instagram users were never informed that Facebook spent $1 billion in 2012 to acquire rights to personal images, from food to family portraits. They all belong to Facebook.

War of the AI

In a bid to get an edge on Google’s AI development, Facebook's acquisition of personal photos has given them a 13.6% improvement in image recognition.

According to machine-learning director Srinivas Narayanan, Facebook technology can recognise images with an 85.4% accuracy compared to Google’s 79.2%.

At the moment, Facebook stands by the lawful though secretive use of user images, which sounds awfully familiar. Now the only question that remains in how much more out of favour can Facebook fall with users?

Are you surprised at the Instagram image harvesting? Why or why not? Give us your two cents in the comment section below.

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