Facebook announced late last week that it acquired a facial recognition startup company to help compete with Snapchat’s filters. The startup, called FacioMetrics, specializes in creating face detection apps, including one that can recognize seven different emotions in human faces.
There’s no doubt that Facebook has its sights set on Snapchat, the popular photo-sharing app that lets users apply “masks” and other visual effects to their faces. However, the potential for this technology extends far beyond that.
“We started FacioMetrics to respond to the increasing interest and demand for facial image analysis — with all kinds of applications including augmented/virtual reality, animation, audience reaction measurement, and others,” FacioMetrics said in a statement. “Now, we’re taking a big step forward by joining the team at Facebook, where we’ll be able to advance our work at an incredible scale, reaching people from across the globe.”
As TechCrunch points out, it’s within the realm of possibility that Facebook could use this technology to allow users to “like” or interact with pages using only facial expressions. Indeed, one of Facebook’s own stated goals for its AI program is to “recognize facial expressions and perform related actions.” Of course, this seemingly-harmless technology will also use our biometric data — a practice that has already landed Facebook in court around the world.