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Hong Kong protesters not using wearable projectors to block facial recognition

October 7, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: Following a ban on face masks, protesters in Hong Kong use wearable face projectors that disable the facial recognition system used by the government.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A video circulating on social media that shows a wearable projector is conceptual. It doesn’t work.

THE FACTS: Artist Jing-cai Liu designed the head piece along with a group of students at the University of Arts Utrecht. Liu told The Associated Press in an email that the artwork was designed to show how privacy might be protected in public places.

“It was made to be a thought provoking art piece,” she said.

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Liu’s website contains a video of a woman wearing the head gear as images are beamed onto her face to simulate how it would work. The video,labeled as showing a working face projector, began circulating widely on social media after Hong Kong instituted an emergency ordinance to ban masks at rallies.

The falsely identified video received thousands of shares on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.

Anti-government protests, which have been going on for about four months, continued Monday night as protesters voiced their opposition to the emergency ordinance.

Liu said her piece was not intended to be political. She found out that people were sharing her video in relation to the protests when her friends began tagging her in posts with the false caption.

“I was shocked that people shared my video with false content about my project,” she said.

The wearable face protector was presented at Milan Design Week in 2017. It also was showcased in 2018 during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven.

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This article is part of The Associated Press’s data verification effort to combat misinformation that is shared online, and includes a collaboration with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of fake news circulating in this social network.

Here you will find more information about the Facebook data verification program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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