Does Facebook really care about your privacy? Here's yet another gaffe

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Does Facebook really care about your privacy? Well in recent months following a series of spectacular gaffes the social networking giant has attempted to reassure its 600 million users that it does care about safeguarding their personal details.

So it is a bit of shock this morning to find the network embroiled in yet another controversy. This time the issue is around Facebook’s technology of image tagging. Over in the United States in December it unveiled a new system that used facial recognition software to identify individuals as photos are uploaded. The idea being that it then encourages their friends to tag them so that others can easily access the images.

Overall it is a potentially useful addition to the Facebook’s service, but obviously not everyone wants to be recognised and tagged in this way.

So Facebook is under fire this morning for rolling out the service in much of the rest of the world including the UK, without actually telling anyone.

Twitter has been in overdrive today with people tweeting negative comments about Facebook and some even threatening to pull accounts.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington DC, criticised the way Facebook had opted users into its facial recognition system by default. He told the Telegraph “I’m not sure that’s the setting that people would want to choose. A better option would be to let people opt in.”

Facebook has responded by acknowledging that it could have told people about the new services and adding that it will only be used on newly upload photos.

So what do you think. Is this now a step to far? What would make you close your Facebook account? I wonder if the benefits the site brings means that for many users it is now too invaluable to their lives to ever leave no matter what Facebook does.

Ashley Norris

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