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It seems like every month there’s a new “challenge” trending on social media.

This month, it’s the “Five Different Looks” challenge.

But while it may be fun to show your range of appearances, data analyst Rishi Maharaj is advising against being a part of it.

“These things may be innocent looking on the surface but if you dig deeper, one always needs to be wary of the kinds of information they put out there,” Maharaj said during an interview on CNC3’s Morning Brew programme yesterday morning.

While there is yet any information to suggest that the challenge could be mining data from users, he said some caution is necessary.

“I haven’t seen anything to suggest that but again I’d always be wary of things that are asking you to put out personal data. And by personal data we mean not only your name, email address, your date of birth and things like that but data would be your biometric data. Your face, different looks that you use and stuff like that,” he said.

“We know that companies that invest heavily in artificial intelligence and facial recognition—what they use is different pictures of different people, ethnicities, facial structures, bone structures and stuff like that to train the machines to be able to recognise. So there is the possibility (of this happening).”

Despite the lack of any information at this time which shows the pictures are used for any nefarious activities, Maharaj suggested that users should not take part in it.

“I would say don’t do it. I mean what’s the benefit of it besides your friends seeing you in different hairstyles throughout different things?” he said.

He reminded users that social media platforms like Facebook profits from selling users’ data.

“Their business is data and the more data they get the better. I mean Facebook is free and the old saying goes, if the service is free then you’re the product,” he said.