When it comes to social media, the world is a different place than it was when Facebook first rolled out its new facial recognition technology.
Now that we have seen how powerful facial recognition can be, it’s time to stop using it.
That’s because the new technology can actually make us look like we’re being harassed or bullied, a study suggests.
And, the study suggests, it can also cause us to become overly critical of others.
“It can be used to manipulate how others see us,” said study co-author Jennifer Laskin, a researcher in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Minnesota.
“But it can be misused to hurt our self-esteem, which is very troubling.”
The study, published Monday in the journal PLOS ONE, examined how people responded to images of people they said had facial expressions that “were overly critical” of them.
Researchers used facial recognition software to find out whether they saw someone with facial expressions they deemed “too critical” for that person’s image.
When people were asked to identify people who had these expressions, they tended to be more likely to identify them as “too sensitive” or “too aggressive” than they did when the person wasn’t identified.
Researchers then looked at how these expressions affected people’s perception of others, especially their own physical appearance.
“People perceived other people as less likable when they saw them with these expressions than when they didn’t,” said lead author Elizabeth F. Pascual, a doctoral candidate in psychology at the UW-Madison.
“That could be because they were more likely than others to judge them harshly.”
The researchers then analyzed the results of a series of experiments in which participants were asked what they thought were the qualities that a person in their social circle had.
When the participants were presented with images of a person who had facial facial expressions deemed “slight critical” by the researchers, they showed less interest in interacting with that person than when those facial expressions weren’t identified at all.
But when participants were given a choice of whether to see those same faces, they also showed more interest in engaging with the person.
The findings suggest that facial recognition “can be used in a very specific way to make us less like our peers,” Pascul said.
And it can make us more negative, she added.
“We’ve become so used to seeing ourselves in the mirror,” she said.
“I think this is one example where people might think that this new technology is just the same as seeing themselves in a mirror.”
Pascually said that people can use the technology to see themselves in more positive light, and that it might be a good way to “make us feel better about ourselves.”
But she cautioned that it could also be harmful to people.
“If it turns out that facial expression recognition is actually causing us to be less likworthy or more negative than others, it might lead people to believe that it’s OK to be critical of people,” Piscual said.
While facial recognition may not cause people to be overly critical, Pascu said it’s also possible that people will see that the results are biased toward the negative.
“The negative image might not be really accurate,” she noted.
“And it could make them more aggressive or less likely to engage with people.”
The research is still in its early stages and has not yet been peer-reviewed, so the study does not offer any firm conclusions about whether it’s harmful.
Piscually also noted that the researchers did not know whether the facial expressions in the study were intentional or just “random.”
But, she said, “I do think there is some evidence that there is a positive association between this and people’s attitudes about others.”
But there are limitations to the research.
The researchers only looked at facial expressions when people were trying to judge others based on their appearance.
And facial expressions could be influenced by many factors, including how people interact with others, the people in their group, the things they do, the way they look, and even how they feel about themselves.
Pisi also noted there is evidence that facial expressions can influence other people’s perceptions of the person being judged.
For example, in the research, participants were shown pictures of people who were smiling and looked positive.
When they saw a person that looked negatively, they were less likely than other participants to feel positive toward that person.
“You might be seeing the person as a bit of a bad person, and then you’re seeing that as a negative emotion,” Pisi said.
The authors of the study did not have any funding for the study, and the study was funded by the National Science Foundation.
The research was funded in part by the NIH.
This article has been updated to include additional details about the study.
Contact Rachel Pascua at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @RachelPasc