The social media giant has filed for a patent for tech that allows it to tell who you live with in the same household, reports BuzzFeed News. Titled “Predicting household demographics based on image data,” the patent describes how Facebook can use its facial recognition technology on your photos to identify people in them, then correlate those people with the captions a user writes when they post a photo, as well as cross-referencing everyone’s device information, such as shared IP addresses to discover who lives in your household. As BuzzFeed News explains:
It would note the people identified in a photo, and how frequently the people are included in your pictures. Then, it would assess information from comments on the photos, captions, or tags (#family, #mom, #kids)–anything that indicates whether someone is a husband, daughter, cousin, etc.–to predict what your family/household actually looks like.
According to the patent application, Facebook’s prediction models would also analyze “messaging history, past tagging history, [and] web browsing history” to see if multiple people share IP addresses (a unique identifier for every internet network).
In one specific example, the model looked at an image a user posted with two females tagged, “#my_boss_at_home,” and another image with a young girl marked “my angel.” Facebook predicted that there were three people in the household, including the male user, and two females, “who are likely the male user’s wife and daughter.”
Oh, and Facebook uses pictures from both its main site and Instagram in this process. As for what Facebook will use this information for? Ad targeting, the patent says. The question is what could third parties use this information for if such data becomes compromised?