Facebook is replacing its tag suggestion feature with facial recognition.
The Facebook facial recognition feature is now being offered to all users. However, the social media giant has been careful to keep the controversial feature opt-in by default. New Facebook users and existing users who currently have the “tag suggestions” setting will be alerted to the facial recognition feature and will receive information about how it works.
The feature will not automatically recognize a user in photos or videos unless it is turned on.
The original feature, called “tag suggestions,” used only face recognition technology to automatically suggest tags of a user’s friends in photos. The new setting is different.
A blog post written by Srinivas Narayanan, Applied Research Lead, Facebook AI, and posted in the Facebook Newsroom, states: “Our face recognition setting lets you manage not only whether Facebook uses face recognition technology on photos of you in order to suggest tags; it provides an easy on or off switch for a broader set of uses of face recognition, such as helping you protect your identity on Facebook.”
New users and those who see a notice in their News Feed, will be provided information about the new Facebook facial recognition features as well as the option to learn more about how the company uses this technology. Users will also be provided with a button to turn the feature on or keep it off.
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For those users who do not currently have the setting and do nothing, Facebook will not use face recognition to recognize them or suggest tags. Furthermore, features like Photo Review – a feature that informs users when they appear in photos even if they are not tagged – will not be activated, as long as they have permission to see the post based on its privacy setting.
Additionally, although people will still be able to manually tag friends, users who have facial recognition turned off, will not be suggested to be tagged.
The change in Facebook facial recognition features follows increasing privacy concerns regarding this technology.
Not everyone likes facial recognition. In fact, many people are uneasy about it and worry that this technology can cause more harm than good. Some people are so against it, in fact, that it has led to the technology being banned in certain areas of San Francisco and Oakland, California.
That being said, according to the blog post, Facebook facial recognition technology does not recognize users to strangers. Moreover, the company says it does not share users’ face recognition information with third parties and they don’t sell their technology.