Surely, Facebook won’t be the first tech company to come to mind when we think about privacy. A few days ago, the company acknowledged that they created an internal app with which it is possible to recognize fellow friends.
Business Insider was the first means to talk about this tool, citing different sources that ensured that a social network employee simply had to focus with this app on a person to discover their name and profile on Facebook.
2 years before the Cambridge Analytica came into the picture
As we say, this app was created for internal use, and that means it wasn’t released publicly. It was created between 2015 and 2016, and would draw on the huge amount of data the platform has and its facial recognition technology to be able to identify other people.
A company spokeswoman told CNET that this app could only detect employees and friends who had “facial recognition enabled”. He added that it was created as a “way to learn about new technologies.”
“The application described here was only available to Facebook employees, and could only recognize employees and their friends who had facial recognition enabled.”
However, these internal sources ensured that at first, the application was able to identify anyone (whether or not it was an employee on Facebook).
Apparently, it was very easy to use this tool: once you opened the app you pointed the camera at the person you wanted to identify, and in just five seconds their name and profile picture appeared.
This app reminds us that companies like Facebook, Instagram, Google or Apple have a lot of data about us and that a “simple” app might make those more concerned about their privacy take their hands to their heads.
This app was created before the Cambridge Analytica scandal (which came to light in 2018), a key moment in the company’s history. Although since then they have been accumulating other privacy scandals, the truth is that in the last two years there is greater vigilance about their practices and their real interests.