by Madison Ruppert
June 19, 2012
The readers will likely in no way be surprised
by the news that
Facebook has purchased the facial
Face.com since Facebook has come under fire from
European regulators for revealing a massive facial recognition database and
been busted for spying on the text messages of smartphone users, showing a
complete disregard for privacy.
If you continue to use Facebook in a state of ignorant bliss, hopefully this
will help you wake up to the reality of what this internet giant is really
A Facebook spokesperson put it, this acquisition seems purely logical and
perfectly in line with their business model.
“People who use Facebook enjoy sharing
photos and memories with their friends, and Face.com’s technology has
helped to provide the best photo experience,” said the Facebook
spokesperson to VentureBeat.
“This transaction simply brings a
world-class team and a long-time technology vendor in house.”
It also greatly enhances their facial
recognition capabilities which Facebook will also most likely be applying to
all photos captured by the other company recently purchased by Facebook:
The privacy issues inherent in Faceboook’s move to snatch up Face.com are so
blatant and impossible to ignore that even InformationWeek has raised the
issue in an article entitled, “Facebook
Buys Face.com: At What Privacy Cost?”
The actual terms of the deal between Facebook and Face.com have yet to be
disclosed to the public but the previous reports released on the subject
have placed the purchase price somewhere in the neighborhood of $80-100
The pending deal is expected to come to be closed at some point in the next
Face.com, which is a relatively new company founded in and based out of
Israel, boasts some of the most cutting-edge consumer facial recognition
technology which can not only identify people but also guess the age of a
person in the photo.
One of their products is a camera application for iOS (which runs on iPhones
and iPads) called KLIK which uses Face.com’s facial recognition technology
to automatically tag their Facebook friends in photographs.
Reuters reports that a third-party Facebook application tracking service
called AppData has reported that KLIK boasts 40,000 monthly active Facebook
“We love building products, and like our
friends at Facebook, we think that mobile is a critical part of people’s
lives as they both create and consume content, and share content with
their social graph,” said Face.com CEO Gil Hirsch.
“By working with Facebook directly, and joining their team, we’ll have
more opportunities to build amazing products that will be employed by
consumers - that’s all we’ve ever wanted to do,” he added.
Reuters also reports that Facebook has quickly
acted in an attempt to improve their image after the somewhat failed public
launch by making some well thought out purchases and hires.
Facebook recently purchased Karma, a mobile “gifting” application, as well
as iOS developers Pieceable Software and there have also been reports of
Facebook investigating acquiring Opera for their mobile browser.
While all of this might sound fine and dandy, I would encourage my readers
to consider the privacy implications as well.
Facebook Buys Face.com
What Privacy Cost?
by Debra Donston-Miller
June 19, 2012
Face.com's facial recognition technology will
quicker and easier photo tagging abilities, but privacy concerns come along
for the ride.
Tagging photos on Facebook may get easier now that the social networking
company has purchased facial recognition company
According to TechCrunch, Facebook is paying between $55 million and $60
million, in a mix of cash and stock, for the like-named startup. (The
acquisition price was originally thought to be $100 million.)
The acquisition lines up nicely - if not quite
as expensively - with Facebook's $1 billion purchase of mobile photo-sharing
app Instagram, as well as with its announcement of the Facebook Camera app.
Face.com's facial recognition technology can identify faces even when
conditions are poor, such as when lighting is low. Using the company's
REST-based API, developers can build apps based on the technology.
It would appear from a blog on Face.com's site that support for the
developer community will continue.
"Now, lots of developers use Face.com
technology to power various apps and make wonderful products," said
Face.com CEO Gil Hirsch in a Monday post.
"We love you guys, and the plan is to
continue to support our developer community. If there are new
developments you can expect to hear from us here, on the developer blog,
and through our developer newsletter."
The comments on Hirsch's post reference several
apps built using Face.com technology and reflect hope that Face.com will
continue its "special relationship with developers."
(One commenter posits that Facebook is actually
buying the like-named Face for another reason: "You know the only reason
they bought this site is cause of misdirected traffic.")
In a statement, Facebook said,
"People who use Facebook enjoy sharing
photos and memories with their friends, and Face.com's technology has
helped to provide the best photo experience. This transaction simply
brings a world-class team and a long-time technology vendor in house."
The acquisition will no doubt make it easier for
Facebook users to identify people in photos and video, especially on mobile
Businesses may benefit by being able to more
quickly and easily monitor how, when, and where their products are being
talked about and promoted, especially with the rise of social sharing sites
But photo tagging - especially as it becomes easier to do - also brings up
huge privacy concerns.
Facebook's page on photo tagging provides advice to
users on how to limit or eliminate visibility of photos they are tagged in,
as well as on how to remove tags, but the process can quickly become
complicated and hard to keep up with.
Businesses must take care to ensure that
increased use of tagging does not result in increased privacy concerns for