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Bizarre shirts turn famous faces into Facebook-confusing camouflage

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Realface Glamouflage (via Simone C. Niquille)
Realface Glamouflage (via Simone C. Niquille)

Facebook's ongoing efforts to use facial recognition software to identify its 1 billion users in the quarter-trillion photos shared on the social network is an ever divisive topic. Some Facebook users don't want to be automatically pointed out in a photo while others simply don't care. Simone C. Niquille, a design student in Amsterdam, is tackling this issue in her Sandberg Institute thesis called FaceValue, which includes a series of custom printed t-shirt covered in a creepy camouflage made up distorted faces of celebrity impersonators. The shirts, Niquille told Wired in an interview, aim to trick Facebook's facial recognition software into recognizing public figures that aren't really in the photos. However, the shirts won't stop Facebook from spotting your face — this is more about screwing with the world's largest social network than undoing its controversial tactics.

With the shirt on, Facebook can still spot you Niquille's shirt set — which she calls Realface Glamouflage — includes an eerie Michael Jackson pattern, a disturbing Brittany Spears mashup, and an unsettling design depicting a smiling and waving President Obama. The student is selling the shirts online for 50 euros, or about $68, each. Nicquille explained to Wired that she decide on t-shirts as a way to fight against Facebook's facial recognition because she sees the clothing item as such a ubiquitous and mundane article. "I was interested in creating a tool for privacy protection that wouldn't require much time to think in the morning," she said. "An accessory that would seamlessly fit in your existing everyday. No adaption period needed."