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Missing Persons Advocacy Network harnesses Facebook's facial recognition technology in new campaign


By Danielle Long | Acting APAC Editor

April 30, 2018 | 3 min read

Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) has launched an innovative initiative which harnesses Facebook’s facial recognition and auto-tagging technology to search for missing people.

Invisible Friends.png

Missing Person Advocacy Network harnesses Facebook facial recognition for new campaign

The initiative works by searching the backgrounds of photos and videos posted by Facebook users in the hopes of identifying and locating missing people.

The initiative is supported by a campaign, called Invisible Friends, which incorporates a push to get as many Facebook users around the world to befriend the Facebook profiles of missing persons.

The initiative hopes to harness the 500 million photos and videos that are uploaded to the social networking site every day, to enable the technology to identify and locate missing people. If a match is made, the profile will be tagged and MPAN will be notified.

Loren O’Keeffe, founder and director of MPAN, said “Invisible Friends is an ingenious way to put artificial intelligence to work for a good cause, and carry out a task humans simply aren’t capable of. By searching through billions of posts per week, we’re not only raising awareness for the devastated families of these missing people, but also hope to put an end to their ambiguous loss, the most stressful type of grief.”

The campaign was developed by WhiteGREY Australia.

Anthony Moss, executive creative director, WhiteGREY Melbourne, said “Facebook has changed the way we interact, recently declaring that there’s now only 2.5 degrees of separation between the entire population of the planet. This simple, creative idea has such immense potential because of its immediate, global reach.”

Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) : Invisible Friends by WhiteGREY

By Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN)

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