Facebook just added a simple 'on/off switch' for its facial recognition features

Zuckerberg

These new features are powered by the same face-recognition technology Facebook uses to suggest friends you might want to tag in photos and videos. "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".

Talking to The Verge, Facebook head of privacy Rob Sherman says Photo Review nudges you about photos you might have forgotten about.

Anxious about someone using Facebook's facial recognition technology to replace their profile picture with your face? These settings boil down to Facebook demanding forgiveness after refusing to ask for permission, and it may not sit well with users. If you've already opted out of that feature, you will also be automatically opted out of the new facial recognition features.

You'll now get notifications if you're present in a photo uploaded to Facebook, but not tagged in that photo.

Facebook is also planning to roll out a "simple on/off switch" to replace the settings for individual features that use face-recognition technology.

These new additions expand on how Facebook already uses facial recognition, which is primarily through "tag suggestions" - a feature started in 2010 that suggests which of your friends should be tagged in photos that you upload to the site. The goal of the scanning, according to Facebook, is to alert you if someone has publicly uploaded a photo of you that you don't know about, especially if they are trying to impersonate you. The new system adds to that, identifying who specifically is in the image, even if they've not been manually tagged first. Those in the European Union and Canada, meanwhile, don't even get the choice to begin with, as Facebook doesn't offer its face recognition technology due to data sharing and privacy legislation. According to Sherman, this option will "completely turn off face recognition technology" for a user's account.

Facebook also introduced new tools to try to prevent harassment Tuesday. It's harder if the possible pool is more than a billion people, a.k.a. Facebook's entire user base.

"If someone is being harassed, blocking the abuser sometimes prompts additional harassment, particularly offline", Davis wrote.

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