Fake photos help vain users outsmart Facebook in photo challenge


Fake photos help vain users outsmart Facebook in photo challenge

Conspiracy theorists believe the #10yearchallenge is a campaign to mine data from social media users

Senior reporter

Facebook users may have pulled one over the social network by posting Photoshopped and faked pictures of themselves in the #10yearchallenge.
Conspiracy theories mount around the latest trend of users posting a 10-year-old photograph alongside a recent image of themselves on social media.
While thousands of users rushed to post their images, others started to hypothesise that the #10yearchallenge was a sneaky attempt by Facebook to start a facial recognition algorithm.
While the director of one of SA’s leading communication firms, ByDesign Communications, Kevin Welman does not believes the conspiracy theories surrounding the challenge, he said any sinister plan from Facebook would have backfired.
“A large percentage of people aren’t even posting images of themselves, rather opting to jokingly post a better-looking version of themselves i.e. a celebrity or sports star.”
Welman could not imagine the conspiracy theory to be true: “There are enough images posted daily on Facebook and other channels which would achieve the same result.”
In a tweet on Wednesday, Facebook denied that it had anything to do with the #10yearchallenge.
“The 10 year challenge is a user-generated meme that started on its own, without our involvement. It’s evidence of the fun people have on Facebook, and that’s it,” it tweeted.
Acumen Media’s analyst Tonya Khoury said that despite the scepticism, social media users continued to take part in the challenge.
“The challenge is immensely popular, garnering 900,000 posts on Instagram, Facebook Open Pages and Twitter in the past few days,” she said.
Dr Surendra Thakur, director of the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (Nemisa) KZN e-Skills Colab, told Times Select that the appeal of the #10yearchallenge rested in the universality and immediacy of the engagement through social media.
“Social media is flat, with no social, academic or class hierarchy. The spontaneity, humour and innovation that arrives through the hashtag unites people in a dark, complicated world.”
Thakur said the timing, at the start of the new year, added to the joy.

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