When FB & IG Was Down Yesterday, People Got to See How FB’s AI Describe Our Images

Image: BuzzFeed News


Nowadays, I’d say my phone is more important than my pinky, with my pinky elevating its status from “Chief Nose Picking Addendum” to “Mobile Technology Grip Reinforcement Phalanx”.

So when Facebook and IG were down yesterday, you can bet I wanted to riot.

I need to read – uh hum – news, and I need it now!

Image: Know Your Meme

Well, not really, since I use other forms of social media, but I can understand other people’s feelings for wanting to.

Especially if you feel like the following is a bit creepy knowing it’s AI-generated from your photos.

Image: BuzzFeed News

In case you can’t read the words, those are descriptions of what’s in the photos, like “Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup and indoor”.

The outage affected Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Twitter

This early morning, Facebook tweeted out the message that their service seemed to be experiencing some trouble.


Now, FB, IG, Whatsapp are owned by FB, but Twitter isn’t. Yet, Twitter also seemed to have experienced some kind of trouble with direct messaging and notifications.

It’s unclear what really caused the problems, but it got resolved relatively quick later on. On Facebook for developers, the problem is reported as a bug for ‘Cannot get profile picture from the URL’.

It reveals what Facebook does with our pics

Since it shows the description of the pics, it basically revealed what kind of information FB scans from them to then possibility sell to advertisers.

Hilariously, a tag of women standing together, happens to be tagged “hoes”. It is unknown whether an actual hoe (the farming tool) is in the original pic, or if it’s a somehow typo-ed ‘shoes’ (by the clearly superior computer race? impossible!).

Understandably, some of you might be creeped out. Relax.

It’s a technology there all along, and it helps disabled people

Basically, these are image titles for screen readers to describe the pictures to blind people, and that technology was already there back in 2016. It’s part of Americans with Disabilities Act, which “state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities.”

Supermarkets, Domino’s Pizza, and even universities like Harvard and MIT have actually been sued for ADA non-compliance before, so a target like FB is basically an even juicier target if they don’t comply to ADA.

Of course, it doesn’t change the potential for the data to be used for other purposes. And if you’re using Facebook, you are probably aware that Facebook takes a lot of your data already.

Or, well… if you’re not, then now you know and might want to reconsider your use of social media. They‘re always watching you.

Look into the eyes of Mark Zuckerberg and watch how he smiles.

Image: Giphy

Is this not how an android smiles?


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