Facebook’s outage reveals how company’s AI tags photos

/ 11:43 AM July 05, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — On Wednesday, an outage hit Facebook services worldwide as Facebook and Instagram experienced severe server issues.

In a report by THE VERGE, the outage enabled users of the social network to see the image tags their photos had been assigned to by the company’s machine vision systems.


During the outage, when browsing through uploaded photos, users will not see the actual photos but texts saying “image may contain: one or more people, child, close up and indoor” or just “image may contain: 1 person,  beard.”

The Verge said the same image tags showed up on Instagram. In addition to detailing general scene and object descriptions, the tags also suggest who is in a photo based on Facebook’s facial recognition.

Facebook has been using machine learning to “read” images in this way since at least April 2016, and the project is a big part of the company’s accessibility efforts. Such tags are used to describe photos and videos to users with sight impairments. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)

TOPICS: Facebook, image tags, outage
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