T-Shirt Designed to Thwart Facebook’s Facial Recognition Algorithm

It’s a creepy sign of the times – you upload a photo and Facebook’s auto-tagging algorithm tells you the name of everyone in the photo. Better yet, you log in to the social network to find hundreds of photos of yourself from years ago, indiscriminately tagged by the site’s facial recognition software. It’s like the social network is becoming its worst user on a tagging spree.

Luckily, there’s a new apparel solution for those who want nothing to do with facial recognition. It’s a t-shirt with various augmented faces of Michael Jackson. If you’re only interested in celebrities who are alive, you mike like a Britney Spears shirt with Britney’s face splattered on the front and back in digital camo style, aimed to confuse the computer’s gaze.

Titled, FaceValue, the shirts were designed by graphic student, Simone C. Niquille, for her master thesis at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. Its goal was to provide “facial recognition dazzle,” a distraction from the reality of the image, or a way to hide from the machine’s constant gaze.

These shirts are part of a larger project that involves Niquill’es examination of the value of a human face, the individual, and the commidification of that face. In many ways, it’s a poke at the commodification culture behind social networks.

Niquille tells Wired:

I was interested in the T-shirt as a mundane commodity. An article of clothing that in most cases does not need much consideration in the morning in front of the closet…I was interested in creating a tool for privacy protection that wouldn’t require much time to think in the morning, an accessory that would seamlessly fit in your existing everyday. No adaption period needed.


Via Wired