Facebook can now find your face, even when it's not tagged

Jeff Wieland, right Facebook director of accessibility watches as engineer Matt King who is blind demonstrates facial recognition technology via a teleconference at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park Calif

While there are benefits to the new tool - seeing potentially problematic photos before they spread, being alerted when someone else attempts to use a photo of you as their own profile photo, or simply not missing memories of fun events - some Facebook users are undoubtedly going to be uncomfortable with Facebook taking this matter into its own hands.

Facebook announced a new optional feature on Tuesday that will alert you of photos posted on the social media platform that you're in, even if no one has tagged you in the photo. 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. Although it does not appear to have been implemented yet, Facebook will soon allow users to turn off facial recognition on their accounts with a single switch. Given that potential creepiness, and our longstanding interest in how People You May Know actually works, a Facebook spokesperson pre-emptively sent us a note about the facial recognition tool.

Facebook is also planning to roll out a "simple on/off switch" to replace the settings for individual features that use face-recognition technology.

The features demonstrate how Facebook is using a trove of facial recognition data, a type of data that has become a key focus for tech titans. When photos and videos are uploaded to Facebook, they are compared to images in the template to determine if there is a match. 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 social network doesn't use facial-recognition technology in those regions, due to wariness from privacy regulators.

Facebook can now find your face, even when it's not tagged
Facebook can now find your face, even when it's not tagged

In conjunction with the new facial recognition tools, Facebook put out another post in its "Hard Questions" series.

Since 2010, face recognition technology has helped bring people closer together on Facebook.

"Some may criticize this as an "all or nothing" approach, but we believe this will prevent people from having to make additional decisions among potentially confusing options", said Sherman.

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