The 10 Year Challenge has gained fame on Instagram in recent weeks and has invaded social networks with montages comparing photos of the present with records from ten years ago. Known as # 10YearChallenge, the joke was to show how users' appearance changed from 2009 to 2019, and then spread to other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
READ: New Challenge Becomes Fashion on Instagram; understand the joke
The fever has also triggered a surge in demand for old Orkut photos that, incidentally, cannot be recovered after the deadline. The before and after fashion, however, went beyond nostalgia and visual comparison, raising from discussions of environmental preservation to theories of artificial intelligence used for facial recognition.
Instagram stars in viral challenge 10 Year Challenge Photo: Rodrigo Fernandes / TechTudo
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The challenge was so popular that until Monday (21) there were over 4 million Instagram posts with the hashtag # 10YearChallenge. Other markings, such as #HowHardDidAgingHitYou (something like "How much did aging affect you"), #GlowUp (pun on the phrase grow up, which means to grow, and the word glow, which means glow), and # 2009vs2019, were used to describe the same challenge, totaling over 2 million records.
The success of the challenge also resulted in a sudden surge in the search for "how to recover photos from Orkut," according to Google Trends data. The social network, which announced its end June 30, 2014, has set a deadline of two years for users to retrieve their old photos through the Google Takeout tool. That is, people had until 2016 to save the images published on Orkut and who missed the deadline can no longer access the backup.
Orkut 2009 users can't retrieve photos for challenge Photo: Barbara Mannara / TechTudo
The most accepted version for the origin of the joke was that it was inspired by the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday (or TBT), which users use to post photos of souvenirs on Thursdays. Another explanation, however, points out that the 10 Year Challenge would have started on Facebook, from a post by meteorologist Damon Lane of KOCO-TV, affiliate broadcaster ABC (American Broadcasting Company).
Named after How Hard Did Aging Hit You Challenge, Lane's proposal was for users to compare the first with the current profile picture on the social network. Inspired by the meteorologist's idea, people began to post in the comments photos from ten years ago (2009) alongside photos from the present (2019), giving rise to the challenge.
In addition to anonymous users, national and international celebrities also joined fashion. Some famous people took advantage of the joke to show how they managed to keep fit, such as Hollywood actress Viola Davis, singer Thiaguinho and actress Isis Valverde. Already socialite and former American athlete Caitlyn Jenner and actress Maisa Silva, for example, took advantage of the 10 Year Challenge to highlight more drastic changes, such as gender transformation and the transition from childhood to adolescence.
There was no lack of good humor in the publications. Comedian and youtuber Whindersson Nunes explored the expectation versus reality contrast about his beard, while American singer Mariah Carey posted two similar photos to show, in a sporting tone, that aging doesn't hit her. In the national music industry, singer Sandy played with the similarity between her and her mother and confused some followers.
Environmental awareness becomes challenge theme
It was not long before the 10 Year Challenge took another course, denouncing the damage that human activity has caused to the environment, especially as a result of global warming. In its Instagram account, the global organization Greenpeace posted a comparison of Arctic glaciers, which melted considerably. Photos of substantially leaner polar bears also circulated in social networks, as well as montages that allude to the slow decomposition of plastic in nature. Celebrities like singer Anitta have endorsed the importance of environmental awareness.
"Despite my 700 plastics that make me discredit the old photos, I swear this is the challenge of the 10 years that most shock me. Everyone striving to improve their lives and appearance every day. And our home (the only one we have ) degrading. How much destruction has happened in just 10 years. It makes it seem like the earth is not that big. Let's take care that in 10 years this challenge impresses us in a positive way. wrote Anitta in the caption of the publication.
The popularization of the 10 Year Challenge also made room for another serious discussion, this time involving artificial intelligence training. In an article published on the Wired Magazine website, technology expert Kate ONeill argues that play provides Facebook with a wide range of information, enabling them to train face recognition algorithms based on age progress.
ONeill argued in the article that "(The challenge) would help (Facebook) if you had a simple, clean, labeled set of photos from now and before. This is because, despite the fact that the social network has a considerable user image bank , comparing all of them based on date of publication would generate very noisy information.
Also, even if Facebook used photo metadata (such as geographic location, registration date, and others) as a source of information, it should be considered that people do not often post photos in chronological order and profile photos may be in the picture. They are individual portraits, but of family, animals or landscapes. There is also the fact that old photos, for example, can be scanned, so that metadata does not reflect the original capture date.
Facebook also hosted 10 Year Challenge Photo: Carolina Ochsendorf / TechTudo
In response, Facebook has ensured that it has no involvement with the challenge. "This is a meme created by users that spontaneously viralized. Facebook didn't start this trend, and the meme uses photos that already exist on Facebook. Facebook gets nothing out of this meme," said the social network, pointing out that users can enable or disable face recognition at any time.
Recalling game cases and tests that were created to extract user data and the Cambridge Analytic scandal, ONeill reinforces the importance of handling personal information responsibly. Regardless of the origin or intent behind this meme, we should all become more informed about the data we create and share, the access we grant them, and the implications for their use, warns in a Wired magazine article.
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