Facebook brings facial recognition setting to all users

Facebook, News

Facebook is making its facial recognition setting available to all users but is keeping the function turned off by default amid ongoing unease about the technology.

The social network’s face recognition system creates a “template” of a user’s face based on other images they are tagged in, which means it can inform people if someone uploads a photo of them, even if they have not already been tagged.

It started asking users in the UK if they wanted to allow the platform to use facial recognition technology to identify them in photos and videos in April 2018.

Facebook's face recognition setting review panel

Those who do not already have the face recognition setting will receive a notice from Wednesday, giving them the option to activate it.

People who dismiss the notice will still have the feature switched off, as will any new users to Facebook.

Face recognition is a replacement for tag suggestions, which gave users the power to decide whether friends receive a suggestion to tag them in a photo they had uploaded.

“We’ve continued to engage with privacy experts, academics, regulators and people on Facebook about how we use face recognition and the options you have to control it,” the social network said.

“We’ve made the steps to update your settings clearer and you can opt to leave your setting off right in the notice, as opposed to having to go to a separate screen.”

The development comes after the Mark Zuckerberg-founded tech giant recently lost an appeal in the US over an alleged breach of Illinois state laws on biometric data privacy.

Use of facial recognition technology in public spaces is also under the spotlight in the UK, after privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office said it was “deeply concerned about the growing use of facial recognition technology”.

Chris Price
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