TechCrunch recently reported that Facebook “acquired” Scape Technologies, a “London-based computer vision startup.”
Scape was founded in 2017 as a “Visual Positioning Service,” TechCrunch reported. The company’s website currently states that Scape has harnessed “AI to allow camera devices to recognize their surroundings, outdoors and at an infinite scale.” This AI technology can “provide centimeter-level location recognition.”
According to TechCrunch, this location accuracy is “beyond the capabilities of GPS.” Currently, Scape’s technology is only useable in London, but the company states that its AI will work in other select cities soon.
What’s Facebook got to do with Scape?
TechCrunch discovered that a recent regulatory finding shows that Facebook has acquired Scape Technologies.
“Full terms of the deal remain as yet unknown, although a Companies House update reveals that Facebook Inc. now has majority control of the company (more than 75%),” TechCrunch reported. “However by looking at other filings, including a recent share issue, I understand the price could be about $40 million.”
Also: “Further filings show that Scape’s previous venture capital representatives have resigned from the Scape board and are replaced by two Facebook executives.”
When asked to comment, a Facebook spokesperson replied: “We acquire smaller tech companies from time to time. We don’t always discuss our plans.”
Possible Scape “Uses”
Engadget reported that Scape could help in the development of Facebook’s augmented reality glasses. (In September 2019, Facebook announced it’s building AR glasses and had “plans to completely recreate the planet in a 3D map.”)
Although Engadget stated that it’s still not clear what Facebook will “do with Scape,” Scape’s technology could, ultimately, enhance the company’s AR glasses.
“This [Scape’s technology plus Facebook’s AR glasses] could help you navigate around town simply by looking at the buildings around you,” Engadget reported. Not a bad capability, especially if you’re always traveling for work.
Scape’s technology also could improve “the accuracy of Facebook check-ins when” capturing “photos and videos.”
The problem: IT’S FACEBOOK.
Scape is not the problem. Acquisitions are not the problem. Facebook is the problem, and Facebook is always the problem.
Engadget’s recent post about Scape and Facebook adds that many people have concerns about “Facebook’s tracking habits.”
And let’s not forget that in 2019, Facebook was ordered to pay a $5 billion fine to “settle privacy concerns,” the BBC reported. “The FTC had been probing allegations political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.”
Models and clipmakers must, unfortunately, be very vigilant about online tracking and their privacy. For example, way back in 2017, we reported on a Gizmodo story about how Facebook revealed the real identity of a California sex worker via the social media site’s “People You May Know” function.
There are literally all the chances that something like that can happen again.
Abbie Stutzer is a queer, non-binary writer living in Kansas City, MO. You can find them doing witchy stuff at home with their numerous pets or at the local animal shelter saving lives. Contact Stutzer via email@example.com.
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