Facebook's New Facial Recognition Feature Could Have Creepy Repercussions

Managing Your Identity on Facebook with Face Recognition Technology | Facebook Newsroom

Using facial recognition technology, Facebook can alert you to any photos in which you're visible regardless of whether or not you've been tagged.

When a photo of you has been posted, you will be alerted and given the option to tag yourself, leave yourself untagged or contact the person who posted the photo if you have concerns about it, Facebook announced in a release.

You control whether Facebook can recognize you in photos and videos.

"We want people to feel confident when they post pictures of themselves on Facebook so we'll soon begin using face recognition technology to let people know when someone else uploads a photo of them as their profile picture".

"We're doing this to prevent people from impersonating others on Facebook", Facebook says, referring to a common problem that's more colloquially known as "catfishing". "Our technology analyzes the pixels in photos you're already tagged in and generates a string of numbers we call a template", said Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Facebook's director of Applied Machine Learning, in the blog post. 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. We always respect the privacy setting people select when posting a photo on Facebook (whether that's friends, public or a custom audience), so you won't receive a notification if you're not in the audience. Previous settings were more complex and made users select (or not) different facial recognition features. You can view it to confirm and tag yourself, ignore it, report it, or message the poster to have words about the photo. When a new photo or video shows up on Facebook, it is compared to the template to determine who it is. Washington, Montana, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Alaska are all considering, or have considered adding consumer protection laws similar to the one Licata sited in his suit against Facebook.

The company will also tell you when anyone - friend or not - uses a photo of you in their profile picture.

Naturally there are fun reasons for a feature like this, such as when someone posts of a photo from a family outing you may have attended, allowing you to keep a photo you may not have seen otherwise.

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