Just like Google, Facebook uses target advertising to help deliver ads to users that it thinks might be relevant to them. However it seems that there is a potential that in the future, Facebook could come up with more types of targeted ads based on your family photos in which it tries to determine your demographic to come up with suited ads.
This is based on a recently discovered patent, suitably titled “Predicting household demographics based on image data,” that would attempt to identify the people within your photo to try and guess how many people are in your family, and what your relationships are with them. So for example if it detects that you are a parent in a household with young children, then it might display ads that are more suited for such family units.
Facebook has since issued a statement following the discovery of the patent which reads, “We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patents should not be taken as an indication of future plans.” That being said, Facebook already has a system in place that can detect people in your photos and even suggests names when tagging, so such a system to detect potential family members seems like an expansion of it.
However as Facebook states, there is no guarantee that such a patent could become a reality. Plus we imagine that there are plenty of people out there who might not be too thrilled at Facebook knowing (or guessing) things about them that they might not have voluntarily offered.