Published: Wed, December 20, 2017
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Facebook's New Facial Recognition Feature Finds You in Untagged Photos

Facebook's New Facial Recognition Feature Finds You in Untagged Photos

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. "You're in control of your image on Facebook and can make choices such as whether to tag yourself, leave yourself untagged, or reach out to the person who posted the photo if you have concerns about it".

Anxious about someone using Facebook's facial recognition technology to replace their profile picture with your face?

Soon, the Facebook app will have an opt-in toggle for the facial recognition alert. Previous settings were more complex and made users select (or not) different facial recognition features.

The facial recognition feature will also notify you if friends or acquaintances upload photos with you in them but don't tag you. So, if someone posts your photo to a private group you're not a part of, you won't get a notification about it. "We're doing this to prevent people from impersonating others on Facebook". By looking at photos from an event, for example, and identifying the faces, Facebook could know everybody who was there and know they might be connected.

The new feature rolled out to most of Facebook's more than 2 billion global users this morning.

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Facebook says Photo Review is rolling out to most regions, though folks in Canada and the European Union will not get to use it due to data laws that restrict the use of facial recognition. According to Sherman, this option will "completely turn off face recognition technology" for a user's account.

The same technology is also being used for a new tool that supports people with visual impairments.

He added that Facebook will not introduce features to let strangers know who you are. You'll be able to find the on/off switch in Settings under Face Recognition, which will disable the notifications. "The person who blocked the original account is in control, and must initiate contact with the new account in order for them to interact normally". In fact, that's put Facebook afoul of state laws and using this technology is outright banned in Canada and Europe.

"If someone is being harassed, blocking the abuser sometimes prompts additional harassment, particularly offline", Davis wrote.

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