Over the last year and a half, Natalia Rojas, an award winning creative strategist, technologist, and entrepreneur, spent a good chunk of her spare time on Facebook. But she wasn’t finding friends, liking things, or broadcasting how awesome her life is. She was working on a personal project… coding an interactive site that shows the more than 1.2 billion Facebook user profile pictures in a single webpage. She calls it The Faces of Facebook.
The Buenos Aires born, 37 year old Woman You Should Know, who now splits her time between the US and Spain, has more than 14 years of experience in coding and an inventive spirit. As a woman who enjoys pushing technology to its limits, she saw an opportunity to create something beautiful with the 1,278,842,363 (and counting) faces of Facebook.
In an email to CNN Natalia said, “I was playing around with Facebook API (application programming interface), and I discovered that there is a way to access everyone’s public information with a very simple (but not obvious) algorithm.” She added, “At that time, I thought I could do something beautiful/interesting with that, like showing them all together. Then I started to write the code to achieve it.”
And achieve it she most certainly did. When you visit her The Faces of Facebook page, your screen is filled from edge to edge with a pixilated mosaic that appears to be made up of countless, unorganized little colored dots. But, in actuality, it’s a gallery of every user profile picture on Facebook – 1.2 billion plus – organized in chronological registration order, which is why Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s head honcho and first ever user, holds the number 1 spot.
Natalia designed her technological artwork to be fully interactive. So as you click over any spot, the pixels of the mosaic enlarge and then come into focus to show a sea of actual profile pictures. You can move from left to right, up and down, and more and more faces come into view.
The site also has a built in function that lets you connect with it via Facebook so you can find out which FACE# you are. You can then use that number to find yourself and your friends in the gallery, surrounded by people from all around the world.
Natalia issues this disclaimer about her project on the site, “Relax. We are not breaking any Facebook privacy rules because we don’t store anyone’s private information, pictures or names.”
As for why she decided to created The Faces of Facebook webpage, Natalia told CNN, “There is a mix of people from all over the world. And somehow we are all telling our friends: ‘Look, this is me, when I like myself.’ Feeling happy, being creative, looking good, being passionate about something, proud of something, enjoying the life”. She concluded, “So I think, why don’t we try to BE our Facebook profile picture? Even if life is difficult some times, there is always a way for us to be what we want to be: happy.”
A message of beauty, humanity, and positivity built with technology by a Woman You Should Know. So cool!