You Can Manage Your Identity on Facebook Using Face Recognition

Terry Joseph
December 20, 2017

Alongside the photo alerts, Facebook is using the same facial recognition tech for profile photo safety.

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.

However, you will only be notified of an untagged picture of yourself if you are part of the image's intended "audience". We're all aware that Facebook knows more about us than we'd like, but this might be a step too far.

The setting is refreshingly simple within Facebook's app.

"The words "face recognition" can make some people feel uneasy, conjuring dystopian scenes from science fiction", wrote Rob Sherman, Facebook's deputy chief privacy officer.

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The goal of the feature, according to Facebook, is to help users better manage their online identity.

The company will also tell you when anyone - friend or not - uses a photo of you in their profile picture.

Facial recognition may make the world safer, or more authoritarian, or just weirder - depending on your perspective. He added that Facebook has no plans ever to use face recognition to help strangers identify users, and he said the company will continue listening to user feedback as it rolls out more features that rely on the technology. 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.

Unfortunately, the feature is not rolling out to Canada and the European Union where Facebook doesn't now offer face recognition technology. It may allow you to remove this feature for other people and yourself, but Facebook hasn't earned any trust on this issue. Thanks to the technology, people that use screen readers will know who appears in photos that show up in their News Feed, even if people aren't tagged. According to Sherman, this option will "completely turn off face recognition technology" for a user's account. "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".

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