What’s up with Instagram?

What are the impacts of Bill C-18 on social media platforms?

For us to make important financial decisions, we must first be informed. Recent events surrounding Bill C-18, the Online News Act, have ignited a fierce battle between tech giants and Canadian journalists.

This legislation aims to compensate Canadian news outlets for their invaluable content. Tech giants like Meta and Google have chosen to block Canadian news on their platforms in combat—which is the reason why you may have noticed that news content has disappeared from your Instagram feed.

The federal government is throwing their weight behind Bill C-18 and suspending advertizing on Facebook and Instagram altogether. This move is echoed by provincial and municipal governments, including Quebec Premier François Legault. Even big media corporations are taking a stand. 

The Online News Act, enacted by the federal government in June, requires tech platforms to negotiate with news organizations for financial remuneration for the news shared on their platforms. This can potentially bring in over $300 million annually for Canadian news organizations.

Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, is urging all provincial and municipal governments to follow the federal and Quebec governments in stopping advertizing on Facebook and Instagram in response to Meta’s threat. The Canadian Association of Journalists calls on Meta to reverse its decision, emphasizing the importance of access to accurate and quality information for a flourishing democracy. 

Recent data from an August 2023 study conducted by Talk Shop reveals that 51 percent of Canadians are concerned about the impact of Bill C-18. These worries highlight a growing unease about the future of dependable news in the digital era.

Even though Bill C-18 was meant to safeguard journalism against dwindling revenues, it has unintentionally pushed consumers to seek news from unaffected sources like newsletters, podcasts, independent news sites, and even X (formerly Twitter).

The union also calls on corporations responsible for a significant portion of the more than $4 billion in annual revenue that Facebook generates in Canada to support local news and Canadian content by halting all advertising through Meta and its subsidiaries. 

The world is closely watching how Canada tackles this issue. As tech giants square off with governments over their responsibilities in the digital era, Canada’s actions will set a precedent for other nations.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s plans to implement the Online News Act are taking shape, promising a potential resolution to the contentious issue. With public consultations, an independent auditor, and a mandatory bargaining process on the horizon, the organization is hoping to establish a fair compensation framework. 

Whether through negotiated agreements or regulatory changes, the outcome will shape the future of digital news in Canada.



Canada Joins Australia in the fight for the future of the internet

Can’t share this

The fight for the future of the internet has gotten the heat turned up. Earlier this month, the conflict playing out in the Australian Parliament between Google and a proposed law that would make them and Facebook pay to link to news sources jumped to the public consciousness.

Google has since decided to get ahead of the legislation and began paying news outlets for their stories in their Google News Showcase program. This is a complete reversal after threatening to exit the country completely, should Australia go through with the legislation.

Facebook, on the other hand, went on the offensive. On Feb. 18, Facebook users in Australia were unable to see or share any news content. The ban was far-reaching, covering both domestic and international news outlets. The ban went so far as to remove some pages relating to government institutions. In regards to this issue, Australian Prime minister Scott Morrison said, “They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it.”

Facebook relented once they began striking deals a few days later on Feb. 23 after the code was amended.

Facebook claims that they are different in handling news than Google, namely that publishers choose to publish their articles on Facebook. Facebook claims that they give publishers “5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million.”

According to Axios, the number of visits to Australian news sites both domestic and international dropped during the few days the ban was in place. It remains to be seen how restoring sharing affects these sites or if the ban hurt Facebook usage in the country on a larger scale.

Enter Canada. The same day that news was removed from Facebook in Australia, Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, who is in charge of similar legislation, doubled down on his commitment to the project. His proposed legislation is expected to hit Ottawa later in the spring, according to Reuters. Indications suggest the legislation will follow the Australian model rather than the French model, which differs in that publishers are paid to have their content used in a special content area called Google News Showcase, rather than charging for access to links. 

Pandora’s box has been opened, with Australia leading a charge that appears to only be snowballing from here.

Canada’s follow-up to Australia will likely be pivotal. Many popular outlets of Australian media are owned by a rather controversial company, News Corp., which contains The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and Fox News, among others. News Corp. championed the legislation through their various channels, leading some to question the motive of the legislation and consider it “media blackmail,” such as Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

Other companies such as Seven West Media have joined Google News Showcase in Australia.

Canada following the Australian model legitimizes it and establishes it as a standard, even though it’s not an actual law yet. 

As we spend more time online due to the continuing pandemic, the market dominance of Google and Facebook has come to the forefront. The Canadian Media Concentration Research Project clocked Google at 50 per cent market share in Canadian online advertising in 2019, and Facebook was nearing one-third, leaving only roughly one-fifth of the market.

It is unknown how this legislation will change those figures or anything as of yet since France is the only country to enact a law similar to this, and their model is not applicable.

So by the time you read this, you may not be able to share this. We are now in the waiting game to see what Canada’s heritage minister’s legislation brings to Canada, and how Facebook and Google react. If Australia is a model to go by, we may go a few days without sharing.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam


The dark side of social media platforms

The recent Facebook scandal highlights the ways our privacy doesn’t exist online

The hashtag #DeleteFacebook was trending on social media last week, raising awareness of how much private information the platform knows about its users. It began when the Observer reported that the private data of more than 50 million Facebook users was obtained by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm. The data was used during the 2016 American presidential elections to profile voters, predict their behaviours and target them with personalized political advertisements. Similar tactics were used for the Leave campaign leading up to the Brexit vote, reported the Observer.

According to Global News, Cambridge Analytica worked for U.S. senator Ted Cruz’s campaign as well as Donald Trump’s campaign. Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower, told the Observer the firm acquired data and used a software system to target specific Facebook users’ “inner demons.” On top of that, Global News reported that Facebook has since stated there is proof Cambridge Analytica hasn’t deleted the data used during those political campaigns, which is problematic. Why are they still holding on to that information?

It’s not surprising that Facebook’s response is trying to draw attention away from the platform itself. Nor is it surprising that Facebook was involved in this type of scandal to begin with. As Facebook reiterates its commitment to privacy, users need to be smart and stop burying their heads in the sand. Everyday, I witness users sharing their most personal thoughts and details about their life on Facebook. People need to realize just how accessible Facebook is to strangers and how privacy settings only do so much in the age of big data. How can users be upset about this situation if they are basically an open-book on Facebook?

Ever since I’ve had access to the internet, my parents always told me to be careful about what I post on social media. We live in a technological era where it’s easy to go on a computer and find someone’s personal information. Users must always be aware of the dark side of social media platforms like Facebook.

Facebook is a double-edged sword. It allows people to connect with whomever they like, but it also makes their personal life publicly available. It’s hard to ignore that social media, specifically Facebook, has a creepy reputation of knowing its users activities.

I believe Facebook needs to strengthen its privacy settings to gain back the trust of its users. Third parties like Cambridge Analytica should not be able to obtain data—especially without the users’ permission or knowledge. Nonetheless, private information will always be more easily accessible on the internet, and I believe society will have to deal with these kinds of problems more frequently. Everything about a person’s life can be found on the internet, which has become an extension of the individual.

People’s entire lives are plastered across the online world. But even knowing the dark side of social media, I will not delete Facebook. I am aware of the privacy risks, but to me, the perks surpass the downsides. Of course, I always think twice before posting or liking anything on Facebook, and I encourage everyone to do the same.

I think the hashtag #DeleteFacebook is legitimate for everyone who felt betrayed by the platform. I understand why these users are angry. People’s Facebook profile data had been stolen to fuel political agendas without their permission, which is just plain wrong.

Even though Facebook is to blame for lacking safeguards to protect user data, these users have a duty to be informed about what happens when they publish information online and agree to use a website. It’s important to not blindly trust Facebook or other social media platforms. I take it upon myself to make smart decisions and be critical about how I interact with my Facebook feed—everyone should do the same.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin


A world dominated by selfies and stories

How the new social media stories option is fueling our self-centered lives

Facebook recently added “stories” to its mobile app, similar to the Snapchat and Instagram story features, further pushing us into a narcissistic world. Here we are, in 2017, and almost everybody on the planet now has access to this feature on one social media platform or another.

The stories features on all three of these platforms are guiding us into a world where everyone has an “all about me” attitude. Honestly, I’m all for technology—and I know I may sound like a low-tech old man when I write this—but our world is being defined by selfies and 24-hour time limits.

Every day, people from all around the world feel the need to share their lives with their friends. It started in 2014, when Snapchat released the revolutionary Live Stories feature. Immediately, people started sharing pictures ranging from their Starbucks cups to their bubble baths to personal rants. Then there’s my personal favourite: driving. Yes, users can show the world they’re putting their life at risk in real time.

Although people shared those types of pictures long before stories came out, the stories feature gave an opportunity to share a series of pictures at once, with viewers simply needing to tap to cycle through them.

This social media feature didn’t impact the whole social media world immediately because Snapchat only has 122 million users, according to Statista, a statistics-gathering website. In August 2016, Instagram launched its own “stories” feature, almost exactly like the one on Snapchat. According to Statista, Instagram had over 600 million monthly active users in December 2016.

Most recently, Facebook copied Snapchat and Instagram—two companies it also owns—by releasing a stories feature on its mobile app. Facebook claims they had 1.86 billion monthly active users as of December 2016. From Snapchat to Instagram to Facebook, just like that, the majority of social media users could use a stories feature on some sort of social media app.

The problem with these stories is people think they’re celebrities and their friends want to know about their life. Everyday people watch reality shows about celebrities who have a camera crew following them around for a TV show, and they’re inspired to do the same. Their phone is their camera crew, and these apps are the TV channels.

An article published in the January 31 issue of The Concordian  said social media use could
lead to depression and anxiety in young adults. In my opinion, the stories feature is the root of it all. By choosing glamorous moments of their lives, people only share the happy moments, and the people who see these stories think their own lives are not as perfect in comparison. We used to think celebrities had perfect lives because of what we saw from their reality shows—when in fact they don’t—and now we think our friends have perfect lives because of social media stories.

I also notice a lot of people posting stories of their night outs partying or at a club. I didn’t think much of it until I started going out myself. What I saw shocked me—so many people are on their phones taking selfie videos of them dancing or having a drink. It’s pure narcissism, and it just ruins the night. You’re out with your friends, leave your virtual friends alone and in your pocket.

Like everything else on social media, stories are useful. Sports teams can show fans behind-the-scenes action. Companies have an opportunity to advertise. Snapchat’s Discover, which features stories from news media, companies and live events, has changed the way news is dispersed. But there are just too many negatives to the stories feature—the biggest being its contribution to our ever-growing narcissistic society.

Graphic by Florence Y


5,000 miles, one connection: a search for a “suggested friend”

Social experiment reminds us that online relationships shouldn’t be discredited as shallow

For most of us, the “Suggested Friends” feature on Facebook is something we happily ignore. Filled with friend-of-a-friends, distant family we’ve never heard of, or people we’ve purposely tried to avoid adding, very few people even give it a second glance—let alone travel across the world looking for them.

So what compelled Belgian man Victor Van Rossem to travel over 5,000 miles to meet his Suggested Friend?

You see, Rossem saw an interesting man pop up in his Suggested Friends list. His name was Neal D. Retke: 49 years old (Rossem was 24 at the time), with a long, scraggly beard and living in Texas. At the beginning, Rossem did not understand why Facebook’s algorithm had told them to connect.

“I became fascinated by him. He had a long beard and looked a little unusual. He did art performances and paintings of mythical creatures and strange beasts which only made me more interested in him,” Rossem told The Daily Mail. “He looked like someone I wanted to meet—a very eccentric person.”

So he did exactly that. After Facebook messages went unanswered, Rossem took the next natural step—and flew to Texas.

Rossem plastered Austin with posters that read: “Are you, or have you seen this man? Facebook said we could be friends. Please help!”

But what could compel a person to track down a stranger based off a social media algorithm? Rossem says he wanted to take friendship back “to the real world”—personalize it, I suppose. He ultimately did track down Retke, who (luckily) did not find the whole thing creepy at all. They might even see each other again this summer.

On one hand, I agree with one aspect of Rossem’s idea: that becoming superficial “friends” is so, so easy. A friend acceptance on Facebook. A mutual follow on Twitter. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am—friendship done.

However, I take offense to the idea of bringing something back to the “real world.” Because despite what your parents might have thought, online relationships are—for all intents and purposes—“real.”

I have had an online friendship for over ten years now. It took three years before we would meet, and can sometimes go years before we meet again. For the vast majority of our friendship, we’ve talked exclusively through text. Likewise, for half a year, my romantic relationship—and every other relationship I had based in Montreal—was relegated to Skype.

I can’t help but object to the idea that you need to physically meet someone in order for a relationship to be real. I see countless articles claiming that the Millennial generation is “anti-social” and “attached to their screens,” without the authors taking into account who is on the other side. Does the Internet give us the tools to have hundreds of superficial, “friend accepted” relationships? Yes.

Does the Internet allow us to have deep, meaningful relationships with people all over the world, regardless of age, ethnicity, sexuality or “social status”? A resounding yes.

I appreciate what Rossem was trying to do: to make a friend request more than a click of the button. But not all relationships online are so shallow: next time I travel thousands of miles for someone I’ve only met online, I promise you, it will be for a friend.


Student Life

Top 10 best time-wasting apps

If you have a smartphone you know that having apps basically comes as a packaged deal. Today, you can find an app for just about anything. Sadly, for a lot of us, we use these apps just to kill time. Here is a compilation of the top 10 best time-wasting apps out there:

Screen cap from Candy Crush Saga, available in the AppStore.

10. Snapchat: Take photos and videos and share them with your friends. The catch: you can only share them for up to 10 seconds. Talk about taking it all in in a matter of seconds. This app can help kill the time by getting creative in your conversations with friends. Show them instead of writing to them what you’re up to.

9. iBooks: Download and read books straight from your iPhone for free. It may not literally be a page turner, but this app will do the trick if you’ve got some free time while on the go. Catch up on some reading from a selection of bestsellers, classics, fully illustrated books and more.

8. Flow: This puzzle-like game has over 1,000 levels where the main objective is to connect matching colours with pipe. Pair the colours and cover the grid. This game starts out simple, but definitely picks up as you move on, passing the time while testing your puzzle skills.

7. Hanger:  This game app is very Spider-Man-esque in nature. Guide your stick figured buddy through 2-D levels by holding and releasing cables. Hit anything — I mean anything — and your buddy will suffer serious injuries, dribbling blood the rest of the way. But fear not, as long as your figure has a head and an arm to hold the cable you can still make it to the finish line.

6. Vine: These videos may only last a few seconds, but they get to the point of the message they’re trying send in a timely fashion. Vines, tending to last between five seconds to a full minute, display something either hilarious that everyone can relate to or instantly recognize, or merely capture a memorable moment.

5. Twitter: Thoughts and feelings expressed in 140 characters or less, Twitter has a whole world of opinions waiting to be noticed and retweeted. Short and to the point, Twitter tweets can be funny, informative, and sometimes downright weird or offensive. But with hashtags and trends forming every day, it’s an easy app to find exactly what you’re into if you need to kill time.

4. Buzzfeed: Get the stories and lists that interest you first on this app by customizing your own feed. Whether it’s 100 things you need to know or 25 things you must see, Buzzfeed will be a great source of news and entertainment to pass the time.

3. Instagram: The app that takes photos to a whole new level of creativity. Enhancements, frames, and focus capabilities offered with 20 different filters to choose from allow us to make our pictures that much more eye-catching. With hashtags as a key aspect of the app, people can search whatever they are intrigued to see.

2. Facebook: Let’s face it. Facebook is a never-ending story that you can easily get lost in for hours if you want to and even if you don’t. With more friends come more bios, pictures, pages, statuses, and — lest we forget — games. The time-killing capabilities of Facebook are truly endless.

1. Candy Crush Saga: If you aren’t already playing this game, know that you are saving yourself copious amounts of time. This addictive candy themed game is similar to the legendary game Bejeweled. The goal: line up three or more candies to either clear all the jelly or bring down the ingredients. You can also see how many you can line up in a designated time span. With hundreds of levels to play, this app is sure to keep you hooked for as long as your lives last you.

Student Life

How a timeline of information is enough to know you

Think back to when you first created your Facebook page. Now think of all the information that has accumulated over the years. There’s your basic information: hometown, date of birth, work and education, relationship status. But then there’s the extras. Events, birthdays, break-ups, job promotions,Christmas with the folks, pictures of the kitty. Facebook literally has a timeline of your life—but what does that mean for us? Well, we at The Concordian wanted to run an experiment. Get two strangers to add each other on Facebook and have one write a biography of the other person to see how accurate or inaccurate it would be. Do we share too much of ourselves on Facebook? Is it possible to write a full biography of a complete stranger? Concordia students Candice Yee and Camilo Gonima tried it out. Here is Candice Yee’s biography of Gonima, followed by his reaction.

Graphic Jennifer Kwan

Camilo Gonima was born August 2, 1991 in Cúcuta, Colombia. Before attending Concordia University, he studied at the Universidad de Ibague and the Universidad Autonoma de Occidente Cali, both located in Colombia. He is attending Concordia as an exchange student for one semester. Moving from a place of year-round tropical weather to Montreal’s harsh winters will be a difficult transition, and Gonima has never seen snow. He speaks four languages: English, Spanish, Finnish and Euskera. In terms of religion, he is a follower of “Papitas fritas,” meaning “French fries” in Spanish.

Since arriving in Montreal, he has taken photos of everyday scenes in the city. Gonima’s preferred subject matter is strangers; he photographs buskers in the metro and Montrealers on the streets. More recently, he documented Montreal’s annual Zombie Walk. In addition to photography, Gonima enjoys making films. He produces documentaries, as well as 2-D and 3-D animated shorts. He likes watching Spanish martial arts and drama movies.

Earlier this year, he took part in a 30-day drawing challenge, eight of which he managed to complete. Gonima’s friends are also involved in the visual arts. His friend, As Ray, is involved in animation and cartooning. Another friend, Laura Londoño, featured Gonima as a character in her comic book.  Moreover, a few of Gonima’s favourite visual artists include Felipe Bedoya, Ordure Bizarre and Laura Laine. Their work shares a similar whimsical, cartoon style. Gonima is also interested in journalism, and runs a personal blog. He is currently a member of Concordia’s Journalism Student Association.

In terms of music, Gonima has a diverse taste. He listens to electronic, indie groups such as Foster the People, The XX, MGMT, Daft Punk and Crystal Castles. Alternately, he enjoys Spanish artists Cadaveria COL, Horizontes Ignorados and Juan Mazista. For partying, Gonima likes to rave to Dubstep and Knife Party.

In addition to his artistic interests, Gonima enjoys sports. He played ultimate frisbee in Colombia for the RYU Ultimate Club, and goes on jogs. However, he is a soccer fan at heart. Jason Moledzki and Wilder Madina are two of his favourite soccer players.

Socially, Gonima balances time with his family and partying with friends in Colombia. He values spending time with his grandmother, Leonor Giraldo de Gonima, and his dad, Jorge Gonima. He is well connected, and has 1,518 Facebook friends from his hometown and Montreal. His friends see him as an easy going guy, and a jokester. They play pool, drink, play video games and go paintballing together.

Reaction from Camilo:

I guess Candice had it hard. Everything on my Facebook is in Spanish and so I was surprised by how accurate she was with so many things. I don’t really keep track of everything I post on Facebook and sometimes a lot of it is just trash. So I was really excited to see what she was going to find. Because of the language barrier, Candice apparently went through my pictures which apparently say a lot more than I thought. Aside from the evident things like my birthday, I was surprised that she found out my interest in photography—particularly that I like to take pictures of strangers. Something I never thought was that obvious. She knew I was into soccer, something I only spoke about when Colombia qualified for the World Cup. Candice was also able to name my current favorite soccer player and my ultimate frisbee team name back in Colombia.  She also noticed things about my friends. Two of my friends are artists and Candice went as far as describing their artistic styles.

She believed my Facebook lie of how many languages I speak. Also, years ago I put my religion views as ‘French fries’ and never changed it.  Besides that, Candice did a good job at capturing me.


With files from Sabrina Giancioppi  



Are Facebook couples pages a must or a bust?

Among the many tools offered on Facebook, a new feature was added onto the social network about two weeks ago: Facebook couples pages.

If you’re in a relationship, engaged or married then you’re eligible for this new tool. This tool allows couples to share a single Facebook account that integrates all the couples’ shared pictures, comments, mutual friends and events.

Essentially, this new tool is very similar to the “friendship page” that was created in 2010. This paged allowed you to see tagged photos, shared wall posts, interests, events and friends with anyone you were friends with on Facebook.

However, this new tool allows a couple to actually have their own page and edit it to their liking, with a cover photo and profile picture of their choice. By just signing into your’s or your partners Facebook under this link, it will allow either one of you to view your couples page on Facebook.

With every other new tool introduced on Facebook comes the most anticipated thing of all: the reactions.

On the internet, many people were quick to say they were ‘disgusted’ with this new invention. I say, they don’t have a real argument.

First off, people make relationships public as soon as they decide to publish it on a social media site. Secondly, so what if the page exists? It’s not being forced on anyone. It’s optional. Thirdly, why start caring now? The friendship page that was launched almost two years ago is almost identical to this function, only this time there’s a potentially lovey-dovey cover photo.

Ph.D professor in developmental psychology at Concordia University, William M. Bukowski, stated that “the extent to which having a big public splash is a good idea depends on too many factors, desire for privacy, the desire to avoid causing hurt to previous romantic partners and one’s concern that over-sharing is not sign of wisdom.”

Bukoski stated that announcing and celebrating one’s committed relationship already exists. Every Sunday in the New York Times there are wedding announcements that allow anyone to see who is getting married.

If two people are happy with displaying their love publicly then good for them, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be proud to show who you’re dating, engaged or married to. I’m not saying to go flaunt it, nor to brag about it, but one does not need to keep it away from people, nor categorize it as “personal” and “private.”

Personal, in my opinion, is the salary you make, your vote in the election, your health, etc. I don’t see how choosing to have one’s relationship be displayed publicly can be harmful. If anything, it can be good.

Relationship expert Debra Macleod told CTV News that she applauds the couples page. Instead of being embarrassed or upset with the pictures and messages that are combined onto one Facebook, Macleod thinks it’s important for couples to be more public about their love.

“I don’t see it as you’re compromising your individuality,” she told CTV. “I just think your individuality and personality and uniqueness is made from more substantial stuff than your status on Facebook.”

Going to the extent of saying that this new tool is disgusting and it can potentially ruin your relationship, or that it’s invasion of privacy, is ridiculous. If you don’t want a couples page, don’t get one. It’s as easy as that.


You look a little familiar

There is a scene in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Minority Report where Tom Cruise’s character, John Anderton, walks into the Gap and is met by interactive personalized video advertisements that talk to him. Thanks to Facebook, this scene might become a common occurrence in the near future.

Regular Facebook users are familiar with the “tag suggestions” feature, which enables automatic picture tagging based on facial recognition to save you the hassle of tagging each picture individually. With the numerous changes Facebook has introduced in a short period of time, including the controversial Timeline and updated photo features, you may not have even realized that this feature has disappeared.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, Facebook removed the feature a few months ago to make the tagging tool more efficient, and the company is unsure of when it will be back up and running. What is certain, however, is that Facebook will no longer be using facial recognition software in Europe after a ruling to ban it unless regulators approve it.

I have to admit, the first time I saw Facebook’s ads match the things I was talking to my friends about online, I was freaked out. But giving companies access to your “face” seems to strike an even more personal note.

The issue at hand deals with a fine line that the social media giant has walked before: its use of personal data. A concern is that the vast amounts of facial information collected in Facebook’s colossal database could be made available to the corporate world.

Last week, Facebook announced it has hit one billion monthly active users. There are over 300 million photos uploaded each day. You can now upload up to 1,000 photos in one album.

Many people get wrapped up in the cool factor and don’t spend time reading the fine print and terms of service. Facebook’s evolution has meant that students who were users in the beginning were only connected to other students in a private network, and have since become openly connected to the rest of the world.

Although you don’t have to pay to be a user, as of last week, a limited number of U.S. residents can now pay for promoted posts. For $7, users can ensure that a post’s visibility is bumped, appearing higher on friends’ news feeds.

Last year, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt spoke about the future of the Internet and privacy at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

“There are many challenges we’re still grappling to address,” he said. “For instance, how do we make the world more open while still respecting privacy?”

It is noted in the Times’ article that Redpepper, an Atlanta-based marketing firm, is currently developing software to identify Facebook users in public, but only after their consent.

This is how the company’s website explains how it works:

“Facial recognition cameras are installed at local businesses. These cameras recognize your face when you pass by, then check you in at the location. Simultaneously, your smartphone notifies you of a customized deal based on your Like history.”

It might just take trial and error to figure out the implications of this technology in our society. What will it mean for police forces, immigration officials and advertisers? What will it mean for identity theft and fraud? Will there be regulatory bodies that “own” your face?

“The main problem with all these technologies is the fact that our Canadian law is based on the supposedly free consent of the people,” said Pierre Trudel, a law professor at the Université de Montréal who studies social media. “Since we rely on consent, it’s very hard to enforce or put limits on the use of facial recognition technologies, or any other devices that might be used in order to collect information between people and their preferences and their buying decisions.”

Trudel suggests that privacy commissioners should focus on regulating the settings within networks like Facebook.

It might be more efficient in order to make sure that these technologies are effectively used only in very limited circumstances,” he said.

Right now, the circumstances appear to be unlimited. Popular Mechanics recently published an article on weird ways people are using facial recognition software. Among them are, an online matchmaking service that uses the software to “identify partners more likely to ignite real passion and compatibility” based on facial features, and Doggelanger, which uses “human to canine comparing software” to match rescued dogs with potential owners that look like them. What impact do you think this technology will have in the future?

Graphic by Jennifer Kwan.

Exit mobile version