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Facebook’s image outage reveals how the company’s AI tags your photos

Everyone knows the bit in The Matrix when Neo achieves digital messiah status and suddenly sees “reality” for what it really is: lines of trailing green code.

Well, thanks to an outage currently affecting Facebook, users of the social network have been given a similar peek behind the digital curtain, with many images on the site now replaced with the tags they’ve been assigned by the company’s machine vision systems.

So if you browse through your uploaded photos, instead of seeing holiday snaps or pictures of food and friends, you’ll be shown text saying things like “image may contain: people smiling, people dancing, wedding and indoor” or just “image may contain: cat.”

In short: this is how your life looks to a computer. This is how Facebook’s AI is judging you. Do you feel ashamed before the all-seeing digital eye?!

The same image tags are showing up on Instagram, and as well as detailing general scene and object descriptions, they also suggest who is in a photo based on Facebook’s facial recognition. (The company has been doing this for photos you’re not tagged in since 2017.)

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