The 10 Year Challenge

If you’re on Facebook, you may have noticed the popular “10 Year Challenge” trending. This challenge asks users to place a photo of themselves from 10 years ago next to one from now so that friends can do a side by side comparison of how much a person has changed during this time. Since many people have been using the platform for that long (or longer), it’s an interesting experiment to see how everyone has grown up on Facebook.

For most, the 10 year challenge is a fun activity, but for one WIRED Magazine editor, the meme is much more sinister. Kate O’Neill suggests that the meme was started with more nefarious intentions than simply taking us down memory lane. O’Neill hypothesizes that the exercise was created as a way for Facebook to farm data using facial recognition software in order to teach it to detect aging.

Seems far fetched? Maybe. Maybe not.

10 Year Challenge – Yay or Nay?

Now, O’Neill doesn’t bring this up to scare people – well, not really. In fact, the original idea was presented more as a joke than a scare tactic, but it did make her wonder.

Basically, things on Facebook can be fun, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used for some other purpose. It’s a sobering reminder than everything we put on social media – regardless of our privacy settings – lives on a platform that doesn’t belong to us. We don’t own our Facebook accounts, Facebook does. It’s like when you read the fine print on your bank card that says that the card is actually property of the bank, and they reserve the right to revoke it’s use at any time. Same with Facebook when you violate the terms of use.

Exercise Caution

Listen, at the end of the day if social media is fun for you and is a great way to maintain relationships with loved ones, keep using it. After all, being paranoid and afraid of technology is no way to live your life – especially in 2019 when it’s difficult to avoid. However, exercise caution, use critical thinking and question things that don’t seem right.

Facebook released a statement in response to the WIRED article, basically saying that the 10 year challenge was proof that people have fun on Facebook, nothing more.

Do you believe them? Well, it’s up to you to decide.

At TwinBytes, we do suggest that laptop and smartphone users exercise caution when it comes to your device’s camera. Use a cover to protect your privacy.

Contact us if you have any questions!