A new app called Facezam was announced this week that promised to let users identify strangers on Facebook using only a photo. Thankfully, the app doesn’t exist and the launch has turned out to be a publicity stunt by a viral marketing agency.
As part of the ruse, the app falsely claimed to scan billions of Facebook photos per second. It also claimed to assess faces with 70 percent accuracy. Altogether, Facezam said it could match a photo to a Facebook profile in ten seconds or less.
Obviously, users were freaking out about the super creepy implications the tool could have on user privacy.
“So that beautiful girl you see on the train every day? Take a photo of her, Facezam it and you can find her on Facebook in a matter of seconds. The rest is up to you,” the app’s page allegedly said at one point.
The nonexistent app’s creator, Jack Kenyon, also made an unsettling prediction about what Facezam could mean for privacy.
“Facezam could be the end of our anonymous societies,” he said. “Users will be able to identify anyone within a matter of seconds, which means privacy will no longer exist in public society.”
As reported by The Telegraph, apps that use Facebook’s data are reviewed by the social network before going live. Also, apps that collect user data and use automated scanning of Facebook must be approved by Facebook before launching.
Facebook users can breathe a big sigh of relief on this one, but it does go to show just how much information Facebook has on it’s massive user base. Even though third party apps like this are restricted, Facebook could certainly create similar apps themselves.