Kate O’Neill, tech reporter and industry adviser, enquired the real reason behind the social media’s “10-Year-Challenge” in her twitter post and the resulting wired article. She suggested that it is actually an information-gathering campaign by Facebook for training face recognition models to identify and forecast age progression.

But, her proposal doesn’t mean that millions of people have been tricked and should delete their picture. Many of these pictures are already publicly accessible. She thinks the challenge is simply a way of easily classifying and categorizing the data for making the training process easier.

Facial recognition algorithms’ training requires large amounts of pre-classified data. The standard method of training a face recognition model would involve collecting thousands of pictures and then classify them manually. That could be time-consuming, extremely expensive, and comprise tons of inadequate noise. But, with the 10-Year-Challenge, this hard work doesn’t need to be done.

O’Neill takes it one step further by saying that insurance firms could utilize the info to recognize who is getting old sooner than normal and can be a higher insurance danger. This info could be utilized to lift the insurance payments or reject some consumers’ coverage.

However, Facebook has rejected the claims by saying:

“The 10-year challenge is a user-generated meme that started on its own, without our involvement. It’s evidence of the fun people have on Facebook, and that’s it.”

Facebook wouldn’t really need the challenge as many time-stamped pictures are already available to them. And although this campaign is innocent, it certainly has made facial recognition system designers and data scientists delighted.