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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.

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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)

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TOPICS: Facebook, image tags, outage
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