Millions of people were terrified at the thought of an app that claimed it could take a photograph of anyone and locate the person's Facebook profile.
An ad for Facezam began circulating on Facebook in the past couple of weeks, calling itself the "Shazam for Faces".
"Facezam is here. Privacy is Over", the ads displayed. "Take a photo of someone you want to find on Facebook, tag their face and touch to Facezam. Facezam finds their profile, the rest is up to you."
The advertisements stated the app would be available in Apple's App Store on March 21st but it's now been revealed as a hoax that went viral.
While the app does not (reportedly) exist, the technology certainly does.
Facial recognition data has been collected by Facebook and Google from users uploading their photos and tagging them with the name of friends. All of that information is sitting on Facebook and Google's servers.
Facebook denied that the developers of a Facezam app sought permission to access that data and further stated that it would not have given its approval.
The developer of the Facezam app said this week the advertisement was a hoax intended to bring attention to a public relations company.
The fake app does raise awareness that 1: technology using biometric or facial recognition exists and that 2: people are fearful of any claims that our private information may be compromised by someone making an app.
Facebook allows some companies to use the information.
Facedeals is a company that offers special promotions to customers who sign up using Facebook.
As a Facebook user walks through the door of the store or restaurant, a camera scans their face and compares the biometric data with facial recognition data on Facebook. The store can then identify the customer's Facebook profile and offer the deals. Customers must give approval for Facedeals and Facebook to access their information.
Facebook states it would not grant an app developer to access its biometric or facial recognition data that would put users' privacy at risk.
Make no mistake though, facial and biometric recognition software makes it possible for an app such as the fake "Facezam" to do exactly as advertised.
As Facebook users upload some 350 million photographs a day to the social network, they must trust Facebook to keep that information out of the hands of app developers looking to do something similar to this fake app.
Saturday, October 21 2017 1:23 AM EDT2017-10-21 05:23:08 GMT
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