Facebook has announced that it is rolling out its face recognition technology, which can identify a user in photos and videos, to all of its customer base across the world. In a blog post, the social media network said it will keep the face recognition setting turned off by default for new users. Anyone else who did not have the setting will be asked if they wish to turn it on.
The Facebook face recognition technology will replace the earlier setting, which was called ‘tag suggestions.’ The latter feature would have the website suggest tags for friends by identifying them in photos or videos using this technology.
In the blog post, Facebook has written that the people who newly join the social network or those who previously had the tag suggestions setting will get the new face recognition setting. They will receive information about how it works as well.
Older users who have the tag suggestions setting see a notice in their News Feed starting today. The notice will include information about the new features and options to learn more about how the company is using this technology. Facebook says there will be a button to turn it on or off.
Facebook introduced this face recognition setting for some people back in December 2017. This gave select users an option to turn on/off Facebook’s use of face recognition technology on their photos and videos as well.
For those who had previously turned off the face recognition setting, Facebook says they don’t need to do anything new. Facebook will not use face recognition to recognise them or suggest tags for photos, videos if they had previously turned it off. Features like Photo Review, which alert a user when they appear in a shared photo even if they are not tagged, will not be activated if face recognition is turned off in the user’s settings.
While people will still be able to manually tag friends, the social network will not prompt that a particular user should be tagged if they have turned off face recognition in their profile settings. Those users who already have the face recognition setting activated on their Facebook account will not receive a notice about the change.
The blogpost also tried to address privacy concerns around Facebook’s use of this technology. It notes, “We’ve made the steps to update your settings clearer and you can opt to leave your setting off right in the notice, as opposed to having to go to a separate screen. If you do nothing, face recognition will remain off for you.”
Facebook also notes that the face recognition technology still does not recognise a user to strangers. “We don’t share your face recognition information with third parties. We also don’t sell our technology,” stresses the blog post.
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