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

20 December 2017

These new additions expand on how Facebook already uses facial recognition, which is primarily through "tag suggestions" - a feature started in 2010 that suggests which of your friends should be tagged in photos that you upload to the site.

Facebook just loosened the leash a little on its facial-recognition algorithms.

He said the new feature give users more control by informing them when their photo has been posted. 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.

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

The tools also come as former executives have raised concern about how much time we spend on Facebook and what it is doing to our society.

Furthermore, as The Verge points out, harassers and bullies could potentially take advantage of this new notification tool by uploading embarrassing photos or videos which would then automatically be shown to the target.

And that, in turn, means Facebook has a new powerful tool for mapping who knows who on the social network.

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As optimistic as Facebook is about the new use case for its facial recognition technology, it also recognizes that this is not something that everyone is going to want to participate in.

Facebook's database of facial recognition has an impression of users' faces, which it calls a template.

You won't be granted the same level of control over this feature as you get with Facebook's labyrinthine privacy settings, though, as the option merely comes with a "simple on/off switch" that will shut down the whole feature.

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But Facebook doesn't shy from explaining that this service could also be used to catch people who are using photos for less-than-wholesome purposes, such as using your photo as their Facebook profile photo.

Soon, the Facebook app will have an opt-in toggle for the facial recognition alert. When photos and videos are uploaded to Facebook, they are compared to images in the template to determine if there is a match.

"We are now using various signals (like an IP address) to help us proactively recognize this type of account and prevent its owner from sending a message or friend request to the person who blocked the original account", Antigone Davis, Facebook's global head of safety, wrote in a post . The post is titled: " Hard Questions: Should I Be Afraid of Face Recognition Technology? .

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