Couple Challenge: Privacy Ending Trap for Facial Surveillance or Random Social Trend?



  • Couple challenge, and others of its nature such as 10-year challenge, crop up regularly on social media, and work as a gold mine for face recognition browsers, identity surveillance systems and more.
  • Couple challenge is seemingly innocent on the face of it – an affectionate hashtag trend where you post a photograph of yourself with your romantic partner, as a token of your appreciation for the other person.
  • However, things may not really be as straightforward as that. In these innocuous trends, lies a bigger story – each of these posts are registered as content that is voluntarily put on the public domain by you, the owner of the content.
  • Once you put this out voluntarily, it becomes content that is available for everyone to access – something that in today’s world represents a million privacy and security concerns.
  • To begin with, any personal image of yours, made available willingly by you on any social medium, is content that any person or organization can make use of, without needing express consent from you.
  • The reason? A public post on a social platform is content that you have willingly stated as something that you don’t mind the world seeing. While privacy advocates have long been alarmed by this, for many mainstream users, this is exactly why they would post a photograph with their partner under the hashtag, ‘#CoupleChallenge’ – instant social gratification.


  • Hence, such challenges, such as the above-mentioned one and the likes of ’10-year challenge’ (where you post an image of yourself from a decade ago as well as a recent one), eat into the entire addiction traps that social media platforms have established, but may actually be severely detrimental to your privacy and online security.
  • These images may be scraped by agencies and surveillance organizations to keep a tab on your activities, while technology companies may further use this content to bolster already strong facial recognition and surveillance algorithms. It is what ‘deep learning’ algorithms, which are the backbone of the likes of Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and others, grow from.


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