Facebook now lets you opt out of automatic facial recognition

Facebook facial recognition

Facebook has announced changes to its facial recognition feature as it rolls out globally. The feature is used to automatically identify and tag people in photographs uploaded to the social network.

Acknowledging concerns about privacy, the company is making it easier to opt out of the "Tag Suggestions" feature which was introduced to a subset of users back in 2017. Now known as Face Recognition, new users will be given the chance to opt out from the word go, while anyone who has (or had) Tag Suggestions enabled will be informed of the change and asked whether it should be on or off.


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The company says: "Facebook has always given you control over whether we use face recognition technology to recognize you in photos. This setting was previously called tag suggestions because Facebook only used face recognition technology to automatically suggest tags of your friends in photos. In December 2017, we introduced a new setting for some people called face recognition. Our face recognition setting lets you manage not only whether Facebook uses face recognition technology on photos of you in order to suggest tags; it provides an easy on or off switch for a broader set of uses of face recognition, such as helping you protect your identity on Facebook".

It goes on to say:

Starting today, people who newly join Facebook or who previously had the tag suggestions setting will have the face recognition setting and will receive information about how it works. The tag suggestions setting, which only controls whether we can suggest that your friends tag you in photos or videos using face recognition will no longer be available.

Affected users will start to see notifications in their News Feed, asking whether the setting should be enabled or not.

Facebook stresses anyone who does not currently have the facial recognition setting enabled will not be opted in.

The change does not mean that users cannot be manually tagged in photographs by others, it only affects the automatic recognition and suggestions feature.

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