June 09, 2011, 12:31 PM — Newsflash: Facebook knows your face. And if you’re not careful, it might identify your face to other people who also know your face, as well as to their friends (who might not).
This seems to have some people in a tizzy. Last December, Facebook announced it was implementing facial recognition technology that will scan images as they’re uploaded, find similar images others have uploaded, and suggest name tags based on other tags it found during its scan.
So if you’ve been tagged in dozens of photos on Facebook and a friend of yours uploads one more, Facebook will (theoretically at least) suggest that friend identify you in that picture.
Though it announced that feature last December, it wasn’t widely available until recently. Now that it is, people are upset – primarily because, in classic Facebook fashion, they turned this feature on by default instead of asking users’ permission first. The European Union, for example, is looking into whether this breaks one of its 3,297* privacy laws.
Facebook, Facebook, Facebook: Will you ever learn?
I might be upset too, if I could ever get the damned thing to work. I uploaded a half dozen mugshots of my own to Facebook from two of my dummy accounts. Facebook suggested nothing about who I was. There’s probably some minimum threshold for tags that I don’t meet. Or maybe they just don’t like me.
[ See also: Weinergate: Five lessons in stupidity. ]
Of course, your friends don’t have to take Facebook’s suggestion and tag you. If they do, Facebook sends you an alert so you can remove the tag. You can also remove your face from consideration by adjusting your privacy settings thusly:
- Go to Account*Privacy Settings.
- Click “Customize settings.”
- Scroll down to “Suggest photos of me to friends” and click the Edit Settings button.
- Click the box where it says “Enabled” and select “Disabled.”
- Click “Okay” and return to your previously scheduled activities, already in progress.