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Is smile to “Like” going to be a thing on Facebook?


Have you ever thought: “Gee whiz, if only I could like this Facebook photo of a cat pooping by smiling at it”. Me neither. However, it looks like gesture-based controls for Facebook’s reactions might not be as far-fetched as one might think.

According to TechCrunch, the social media giant recently acquired Carnegie Mellon University spinoff company FacioMetrics — a startup that specialises in developing face-tracking software.

FacioMetrics developed an application called IntraFace that can detect seven different emotions on a person’s face. Here’s a short video about the technology and it’s potential applications:

TechCrunch also noticed, in a “32-bullet point briefing” sent to them by Facebook that the social media giant has plans for future applications of deep learning that includes “gesture-based controls, recognise facial expressions and perform related actions”.

With the acquisition of FacioMetrics, this could be all the more possible as Facebook combines the startup’s facial recognition software with its own AI to determine if you’re happy or sad or angry or haha or wow. But is this something that’s going to be a thing? First off, how would it work?

In the video, FacioMetrics’ software works through a camera. When you bring that into our day-to-day, that means our smartphone’s front cameras. So, for Facebook to accurately be able to recognise your facial expression and translate that into reactions, they would have to constantly monitor your face through this camera….which is a little more than creepy. And I know the first person who probably won’t like this feature is The Zuck himself.

One, admittedly less creepy way, would be to have you hold the reaction button, which then triggers the smartphone’s selfie-cam to launch and then the software kicks in to detect your expression select the appropriate reaction…which will probably take multiple attempts to get right.

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I really don’t see how this is more practical (or faster) than just tapping on the like button and/or holding it down for a different reaction.

But, this is all probably still a long way away. Who knows what the world will look like when that time actually comes. In the meantime, the more practical (and immediate) application of FacioMetrics technology, as laid out by Facebook, is to develop the social media platform’s Snapchat-esque AR selfie lenses/filters.

There’s also talk of integration of this AR tech into Facebook videos and Live broadcasts — who knows, in the next SoyaCincau Live, we could all have medieval ponchos and stripey top hats on our head.

That’s something to look forward to, I reckon.