Published: Wed, December 20, 2017
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

Facebook using facial recognition to find photos you're not tagged in

Facebook using facial recognition to find photos you're not tagged in

Facebook has announced that it is rolling out a new feature which leverages its facial recognition technology to tell you when it thinks you've appeared in a photo but haven't been tagged. When you review the image that's been flagged, you'll be able to tag yourself in it, leave yourself untagged, or just contact the person who uploaded it.

An additional feature will also inform users if anyone across the entire social network tries to post a profile picture containing them, Joaquin Candela, Facebook's director of applied machine learning, said.

The features demonstrate how Facebook is using a trove of facial recognition data, a type of data that has become a key focus for tech titans.

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This would allow Facebook to implement more features that use facial recognition, such as account recovery, though that remains to be seen. Given that potential creepiness, and our longstanding interest in how People You May Know actually works, a Facebook spokesperson pre-emptively sent us a note about the facial recognition tool. It applies only to newly posted photos, and only those with privacy settings that make an image visible to you. But computers are getting better at recognizing us, and now Facebook has chose to use that to spot photos you're not tagged in. 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. When a new photo or video shows up on Facebook, it is compared to the template to determine who it is. The idea is to prevent people from impersonating others on the social network. More specifically, the poster must set the image's audience to "everyone" for you to be notified.

Head into the settings and you'll find a new "on/off" toggle for Face Recognition. In fact, that's put Facebook afoul of state laws and using this technology is outright banned in Canada and Europe. Apple replaced its fingerprint reader with a facial recognition camera to unlock its latest iPhone, and also uses facial recognition to sort photos.

Facebook says Photo Review is rolling out to most regions, though folks in Canada and the European Union will not get to use it due to data laws that restrict the use of facial recognition.

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