Facebook increases use of facial recognition to spot users in uploaded photos

  • Wednesday, December 20th, 2017
  • Author: Tim Maytom
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Facebook has announced that it will begin using facial recognition technology to tell people on the social network when other users have upploaded photos of them, regardless of whether or not they are tagged. In order to access the feature, users will have to agree to let the company keep a facial template on file.

The company has said in a statement that the optional feature was designed to allow people to protect their privacy and ensure they were aware of all the images that were uploaded of them, as well as helping to prevent impersonation on the social network, but critics have warned that the system could be misused.

The feature will initially only be available in the US, and is currently unlikely to ever be available in Canada and the European Union, where stricter privacy laws prevent the type of data capture and analysis required to check every photo uploaded to Facebook. The company, however, has said it is hopeful that the feature could come to these countries in the future.

Facial recognition technology has been a part of Facebook since at least 2010, when the companys primary app began offering suggestions of whom to tag in a photo, another optional feature that can be disabled.

Facebooks technology analyses photos where the subject is already tagged and creates a template which can be compared to new images. This template is deleted for anyone who opts out of the feature, said Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer at Facebook.