Facebook knows about you quite a lot, but wants to know more.
The company has recently registered a patent, with which the social network plans to bring together people, unrelated to each other.
For anybody not a secret that Facebook is interested in Dating users. And to figure out who people may be familiar with in real life, the social network looks at a list of contacts in your phone, tracks your activity in groups, looking at pictures. Due to this generated a list of people you can know.
The feature “people You may know” appeared in 2008. For ten years the algorithms of selection of people have become so accurate that sometimes this precision is getting a little creepy. But now the situation might become even more unusual.
The new patent describes a system that tracks how often people intersect in the real world. It is assumed that the Facebook app will use all types of signals of smartphone (including Bluetooth, Z-Wave or Zigbee, NFC or PAN) to determine which users are frequently and regularly be near to you. The app will record the duration and time of meetings. You can also use a gyroscope and GPS to determine users traveling in public transport, sitting in cafes or strolling on foot.
Using all these data the algorithm Facebook will be able to determine the real connection between users, which does not overlap in the virtual space of social networks.
Of course, the representatives of Facebook believe that this system will bring only benefits. The patent claims that the feature will help users who have met an interesting person, but not got his contacts. For example, you met someone at a party, but forgot to exchange numbers. Another example – two people who regularly travel on one bus, but lose touch when one of them changes the route.
However, not everyone shares such enthusiasm. According to human rights activists, this dangerously blurs the line between real life and virtual account. Thus, the representative of human rights organization Access Now Amy S. writes that the ability to navigate in the real world, while maintaining at least some degree of anonymity and privacy is an important guarantee of human security.
The feature “people You may know” even in the form in which it exists now, has repeatedly caused scandals. For example, the algorithm proposed to “make friends” sick, anonymously attending the same psychiatrist, he revealed the identity of the people of anonymous support groups, gave out personal information of sex workers to their clients.
In 2016 Facebook denied that the list of “people You may know” is based data geolocation. However, the company admitted that some time tested this possibility in the past. Alas, the exact mechanism of the algorithm is not known to anyone outside of Facebook.
At the moment the described technology is the surveillance of the meetings in the real world exists only in the form of a patent. But the very possibility of implementing something like this looks pretty terrible. And even more scared of the existence of such a system to be profitable a large number of people. For example, dictatorial regimes, overly curious intelligence or ubiquitous advertisers.