Have you ever wondered how many photos of you are floating around Facebook without your knowledge? Photos posted by friends who didn’t tag you. Photos posted by friends of friends who didn’t know who you were to tag you. Photos you just happen to be in that nobody was ever even going to try to tag you in. Facebook is rolling out a new feature using its facial-recognition technology to help solve this problem. The company will also notify you if your face appears in somebody else’s profile picture.
Now, if you’re in a photo and are part of the audience for that post, we’ll notify you, even if you haven’t been tagged. You’re in control of your image on Facebook and can make choices such as whether to tag yourself, leave yourself untagged, or reach out to the person who posted the photo if you have concerns about it. We always respect the privacy setting people select when posting a photo on Facebook (whether that’s friends, public or a custom audience), so you won’t receive a notification if you’re not in the audience.
Facebook says its facial-recognition software can be turned off easily. “People gave us feedback that they would find it easier to manage face recognition through a simple setting, so we’re pairing these tools with a single ‘on/off’ control,” the company said in a statement. “If your tag suggestions setting is currently set to ‘none,’ then your default face recognition setting will be set to ‘off’ and will remain that way until you decide to change it.” The idea of Facebook alerting you if somebody is using your photo as a profile picture to impersonate you should make you feel a little bit safer. It makes me feel a little bit safer. Though not safe enough to forget that all this means is that a massive corporation is getting incredibly good at identifying your face and its defining features and remembering what you look like. The company said the new tech is available “in most places, except in Canada and the EU where we don’t currently offer face recognition technology.” Places that, coincidentally, have much stricter internet-privacy laws.