Facebook rolls out facial recognition feature; faces fire from privacy advocates

By Abhinav Lal Published Date
08 - Jun - 2011
| Last Updated
08 - Jun - 2011
Facebook rolls out facial recognition feature; faces fire from pr...

Many people including Sophos’ Graham Cluley are making a big deal about the quiet way in which Facebook rolled-out its facial recognition system, which the social networking giant enabled to help speed up the process of tagging photographs, by autosuggesting the relevant person. [RELATED_ARTICLE]

Right now, the service is opt-out, where users will have to visit privacy settings, and disable “Suggest photos of me to friends.” Without this step, users will find that their contacts who have tagged them before, will be able to tag them in the future much more easily, forcing them to untag themselves from a greater number of photos, if they so choose.

If this seems like a minor issue to you, you’d be absolutely right, it is piddling – but Facebook has been in the privacy frying pan for a while now, and should have wised up and realised that only explicit, opt-in (for all parties) features will be accepted on face value, no matter how useful they are. Facebook has now acknowledged that it should have explicitly informed users when it was rolling-out the feature, but so far, no news of the autosuggestion becoming an opt-in feature.

Sophos' Graham Cluley warned users in a press release:

“Now might be a good time to check your Facebook privacy settings as many Facebook users are reporting that the site has enabled the option in the last few days without giving users any notice…Remember, Facebook does not give you any right to pre-approve tags. Instead the onus is on you to untag yourself in any photo a friend has tagged you in. After the fact….”

Abhinav LalAbhinav Lal