In 2017, we developed a world-first campaign to harness the power of Facebook’s then new facial recognition and auto tagging technology in the search for missing people. Invisible Friends featured a selection of Facebook profiles of missing loved ones whose families requested to be involved, sending through images and details to create the profiles. Through unprecedented media coverage both nationally and internationally, we asked Facebook users around the world to ‘Friend’ the loved ones involved.
The initiative searched the backgrounds of each photo and video posted by the friends of each profile, in the hopes of identifying and locating these missing people. With then around 500 million photos and videos posted to Facebook every day, if even one of the faces matched, the algorithm would have notified MPAN of the missing loved one being identified in the image.