Facebook rolls out face recognition, kills tagging option


Facebook said on Tuesday its face recognition technology will now be available to all users with an option to opt out, while deciding to discontinue a related feature called Tag Suggestions.

"We won't use face recognition to suggest that people tag you in photos", Facebook clarified this week. Tag Suggestion, on the other hand used face recognition only to suggest a user to tag friends in photos.

People who dismiss the notice will still have the feature switched off, as will any new users to Facebook.

Back in late 2017, Facebook was offering a setting that allowed them to decide whether or not the facial recognition feature was used in their Facebook experience or not. This earlier setting notified you if someone uploaded a photo and automatically tagged you in it.

"The development of a face template using facial-recognition technology without consent (as alleged in this case) invades an individual's private affairs and concrete interests", Judge Sandra Ikuta, a Bush appointee, wrote in the opinion for the court. It will also work from the get go for those who have previously had the "Tag Suggestions" setting enabled.

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But are users really exercising their ability to choose when a setting is on by default for some of them in a sea of historically confusing settings?

The changes are already in effect all over the world, and some users with specific settings will start seeing prompts to opt in to face recognition starting today.

In addition, features like Photo Review, which lets you know when you appear in photos even if you are not tagged, as long as you have permission to see the post based on its privacy setting, will not be activated. Now Facebook is switching over for everyone, and those who're getting the new setting will have it turned off.

The decision to change its settingscomes amid increasing unease about facial recognition technology, which can be used at home, school or rock concerts to identify people. And the company said it doesn't sell its technology or share your face-recognition information with third parties.

The FTC also imposed new rules about how Facebook could use facial recognition as part of its settlement with the company over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.