Big Brother is watching? New Facebook facial recognition spots you even if you’re not tagged
The world’s largest social network has just rolled out a new feature of its facial recognition technology that will notify users when someone has uploaded a photo of them even if they haven’t been tagged in it on Facebook.
The new feature sprang into action Tuesday. Facebook says it will “help people better manage their identity” on the platform “using face recognition.” Though not all of the network’s over 2 billion users will be able to avail of the new feature as those in the European Union and Canada are excluded due to privacy laws which prohibit Facebook's use of facial recognition.
Under EU law, personal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose. Furthermore, “persons or organisations which collect and manage your personal information must protect it from misuse and must respect certain rights of the data owners which are guaranteed by EU law.”
Once Facebook identifies an image it thinks your face is in, it will send a notification to a new Photo Review feature, much like the Timeline Review feature when someone tags you in a post.
Within the review section, users can then choose to tag themselves, send a message to the person who uploaded the photo, report the image for breaking the site’s rules or let Facebook know if the photo isn’t of them.
“These new features help you find photos that you’re not tagged in and help you detect when others might be attempting to use your image as their profile picture,” Joaquin Quinonero Candela, Facebook’s Director of Applied Machine Learning wrote.
Users can opt out of this new feature as Candela explains: “If your tag suggestions setting is currently set to “none,” then your default face recognition setting will be set to “off” and will remain that way until you decide to change it.” However if it is not, the user will have to opt-out.
This all sounds rosy, with Facebook just being the nice guy and allowing you better control over content about you but posted by others, but of course, it benefits the company too. More notifications equals more activity which in turn results in more ad impressions, the same can be said in relation to tagging.