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You Can Manage Your Identity on Facebook Using Face Recognition

20 December 2017

While there are benefits to the new tool - seeing potentially problematic photos before they spread, being alerted when someone else attempts to use a photo of you as their own profile photo, or simply not missing memories of fun events - some Facebook users are undoubtedly going to be uncomfortable with Facebook taking this matter into its own hands. Using facial recognition technology, Facebook can alert you to any photos in which you're visible regardless of whether or not you've been tagged.

A user must be part of the permitted audience for the page posting the photo in order to receive the notification. In fact, that's put Facebook afoul of state laws and using this technology is outright banned in Canada and Europe.

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"The words "face recognition" can make some people feel uneasy, conjuring dystopian scenes from science fiction", wrote Rob Sherman, Facebook's deputy chief privacy officer. The objective 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. We're also introducing a way for people who are visually impaired to know more about who is in the photos they encounter on Facebook.

Facebook will let you know when someone posts a photo of you - even if you aren't tagged in it. The new facial recognition features will be available in your settings soon, but not in Canada or the European Union where Facebook does not offer facial recognition.

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The new features are being rolled out in the face of growing pressure on the company from regulators who have criticised Facebook for spreading fake news, fostering hate speech, eroding civil discourse and trampling privacy rights.

Facebook jumped ahead of potential privacy fears today with another of its Hard Questions posts, addressing some of the concerns users might have over the social network's growing use of facial recognition technology. Apple replaced its fingerprint reader with a facial recognition camera to unlock its latest iPhone, and also uses facial recognition to sort photos.

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"Some may criticize this as an "all or nothing" approach, but we believe this will prevent people from having to make additional decisions among potentially confusing options", said Sherman.

You Can Manage Your Identity on Facebook Using Face Recognition