January 9, 2019
Facebook has filed a patent application for a technology that studies its users’ family photos in hopes of getting clues about with whom they live.
The patent application filed with the US Patent & Trademark Office is titled “Predicting Household Demographics Based on Image Data”. The patent application explains that the technology would predict a number of things including household size and demographic composition based on image data of the user such as profile photos, photos posted by the user and photos posted by other users socially connected with the user. That information, in turn, can be made available to third parties that want to provide improved and targeted content delivery to the user and the user’s household.
If successfully patented, the application indicates that the technology could be used on Facebook and Instagram. However, filing for a patent does not necessarily mean that the technology will be put to use. In fact, a Facebook representative has cautioned the public from assuming that this technology will be implemented, noting that “we often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patents should not be taken as an indication of future plans.”
It will be interesting to see how (or if) Facebook utilizes its new technology.
Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Pearl Lee