Facebook introduces new facial recognition and privacy features

Allan Goodman
December 20, 2017

Facebook is also adding a new overarching photo and video facial recognition opt out privacy setting that will delete its face template of you and deactivate the new Photo Review feature as well as the old Tag Suggestions that used facial recognition to speed up tagging when friends posted a photo of you. Users will then have the option of tagging themselves, remaining untagged or reaching out to the person who posted the photo if there are concerns.

Facebook Inc. announced today that it will begin using its facial recognition technology to recognize users in any picture, whether they are tagged in it or not. The idea is to give you more control over your identity online by informing you when your face appears in a photo, even those you don't know about. But computers are getting better at recognizing us, and now Facebook has chose to use that to spot photos you're not tagged in. The new feature leverages the already existing automatic alt-text tool which the company introduced two years ago to describe pictures to those who have difficulty seeing them.

Facebook is also using facial recognition to create new tools for those with visual impairments.

A user must be part of the permitted audience for the page posting the photo in order to receive the notification.

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The new feature, once activated of course, will tell you when your face is appearing in a picture which you are not tagged in. "When photos and videos are uploaded to our systems, we compare those images to the template".

There will also be a new on/off switch for all facial recognition features on Facebook. According to Sherman, this option will "completely turn off face recognition technology" for a user's account.

This is scary, next level sci-fi stuff, especially considering the negative outcomes that could be borne from folks being able to snap your pic at a health clinic, queer nightclub, or other places you may not want everyone to know about and pinpointing who you are and where you are. The site will now recognize new accounts made by people you have blocked and prevent the new account from sending you friend requests or messages. In fact, that's put Facebook afoul of state laws and using this technology is outright banned in Canada and Europe.

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