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Facebook wants to watch your emotions

At some point a line has to be drawn with regards to what Facebook should learn about us, right? Already the social media giant knows more about us than we realized, and it appears it is still not enough.

Our birthdays, address, friends and family? Nope, need more. The things we do for fun and sites we like to read? Great, but what else?

It turns out Facebook at least has an interest in not only knowing about our likes and interests, but our emotions as well. Yeah, they want to know how we are feeling.

But how would they do that? Do we even want to know?

It’s an interesting idea, at the very least. It was recently learned a patent Facebook filed for would involve using technology to understand how your facial expressions change when viewing different content on their site.

That dog or kitten make you go “awww” or that article have you saying “grrrr”? Whether it’s that or anything in between, the technology would analyze the images it captures of you to figure out how you feel, all for the purposes of keeping you on the site longer.

Seems a bit crazy, doesn’t it?

When you think about it, if Facebook knows you are enjoying some content more than it would then try and display more of that for you to see. Conversely, if you look away from the screen when certain images appear, it would then try to limit that kind of stuff going forward.

The happier you are on Facebook the more likely you are to stick around, meaning you are increasingly likely to see the ads that earn the site money. Along with that, the technology would supposedly help with targeting ads to your taste, especially if you respond differently towards certain promotions.

How about no

The patent application was actually submitted more than four years ago, in February 2014, and was published in August 2015. Asked for comment, a Facebook spokesperson said they often look into patents for technology they never actually implement, and that patents should not be taken as an indication of any future plans.

Maybe that’s true, and it’s fair to note that the patent was filed long before we ever learned of the Cambridge Analytica scandal or some of the other issues facing the tech giant.

Then again, 2014 was when Facebook was found to have secretly messed with news feeds as part of an experiment to determine whether it could affect peoples’ emotions, so the patent would seem to pair nicely with that.

Four years later, general opinion of Facebook and its role in our everyday lives has certainly changed, and not really for the better. Therefore, given all the hot water the company and its leader, Mark Zuckerberg, have found themselves in, it would be understandable if the idea of them using cameras to record and learn about us is not something that makes you smile.

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