Big companies like Facebook file patents for a whole host of reasons. Sometimes they do it to play defense against competing companies. Sometimes they do it just to explore what the tech has to offer. But sometimes they really want to make the ideas part of their future plans. And as The New York Times recently spelled out, some of the patents Facebook owns are pretty darn creepy.
Some of the ideas Facebook has considered are a feature that could read your relationship status by analyzing how many times you’ve visited another user’s page and the number of people in your pictures. Another patent spells out how Facebook could determine your personality traits, from openness to emotional stability, just from your posts and messages. The company has even explored tracking your routines and habits to the point where it can predict future events in your life, like births, deaths and graduations.
Facebook is quick to caution that these patents don’t necessarily indicate these ideas are going to happen. But it does at least point to the fact that Facebook is interested in them. And experts say that this kind of boundary-pushing isn’t going to stop anytime soon.
“I’ve seen no indication that Facebook has changed its commitment to watch everything we do, record everything we do and exploit everything we do,” Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor at the University of Virginia, told The New York Times.
As Facebook users, it’s important to remember that no matter how much of our info the company gathers, it’s always going to want more.