Facebook Files Patent That Will, If Granted, Use Your Gadget’s Front Snapper to Read Your Emotions



Social media giant Facebook is not going to slow down from releasing new features for its wildly popular platform. Some of these features, including the Stories madness that has been strategically launched across its other apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram, have not been the most original of ideas because we have seen them somewhere before.

Next in line are some patents that target user typing habits and facial expressions to tailor the most relevant content for viewing.

Things get a little creepy here: the patent dubbed ‘emotion technology’ will work by employing the services of your smartphone’s front-facing snapper to determine if you are smiling or frowning to content. If you smile, say to your high school friend kids’ pictures, Facebook will pull similar images from your friend list to make you smile wider. By doing so, your timeline will be like a kindergarten class of smiling kids (pics of screaming babies are not Facebook-friendly), I think.

Facebook Patent
Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery

It should be noted that this patent is not new. It was filed in February 2014 and published in August 2015. The patent was discovered by a company called CBI Insight that has looked into Facebook’s emotion milestones. To recap, the patent proposes taking images of Facebook users through a gadget’s camera even in situations where they are not using the camera consistently. By doing so, the social media organization can track and check emotional reactions based on what they are looking at.

It appears that Facebook will use ‘passive imaging data’ recorded by forward-facing cameras. What’s more, Facebook argues that users use their gadgets normally without thinking about cameras, which is why it wants to leverage this imaging information. Afterward, an API component will be used to point out user emotion and store the data. The data will either be used to ascertain the kind of emotion a given kind of content elicits for content producers or deliver content that is most engaging.

A similar patent, which was published in May 18, 2017 targets to ‘dynamically generate emojis based in image analysis of facial features.’ What this means that sending messages with emojis will be seamless based of facial expressions. For instance, it could send a grinning emoji to a selfie of someone grinning.

Facebook Patents
Systems and methods for dynamically generating emojis based on image analysis of facial features

The last patent that aims to ‘augment text messaging with information’ was granted on May 25, 2017. Ideally, it automatically adds emotional information to messages based on typing habits (from keyboards, mice, typing speeds, location, movement, among other factors) after learning and adapting to a user’s predicted emotion.

Facebook patents
Augmenting text messages with emotion information

It should be remembered that patents do not always make their way to final products, so we cannot tell if some of the ‘emotional technology’ features will be put into action.