Facebook Leaps Towards the Future, But at What Cost?

Mark Zuckerberg, a name which is well known to the world of the internet, but why? This enterprising young man is the youngest ever self-made billionaire, with a estimated value of  $1.5 billion four years after Facebook’s release. Facebook has over 500 million users, which means that 1 in 13 people use Facebook. 57% of people talk to people more online, than they do in real life. So, what is fairly evident here is that Facebook has a lot of influence, and a change in the social networking industry would have a huge impact on the way people live.

What is becoming apparent, is that many of these users are able to access Facebook through the use of smart-phone applications, which are available on all of the major phone operating systems. This allows people with a WiFi or 3G connection o update their status and interact with other Facebook users wherever, whenever they feel like it. Facebook and its contemporaries have realised this and are always working on updating their current software to improve the user interface and add features. In April 2012, Facebook spent $1 Billion on buying the popular photo sharing service, Instagram, demonstrating Facebook’s drive to provide more for their consumers.

Facebook has recently released an app called Klik, facial recognition software available for IOS 4.3 for iPad and iPhone. The app connects to your Facebook account and scans any photos you have taken for your friends. It is then able to automatically tag your photos, which when tested, has proven to be fairly accurate. Imagine taking this a step further, some future applications could be to use augmented reality. Being able to hold a phone towards someone you know, an app retrieving their profile information, and overlaying it across your phone’s screen.

Although this may sound great, legal action has been taken in Germany to prevent Facebook from releasing its facial recognition software, which they believe violates privacy and data protection laws. If Facebook does not comply with these demands, they could be fined with up to €300,000 (£262,000).

So, this is almost an ethical debate raised in a previous post on this website: How secure is our data? Do we really want a stranger to be able to point a camera at us and retrieve all our personal information? I believe that Facebook should look very carefully at what point do they take it too far.

Written by Struan McDonough

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