Facebook introduces new technology to recognise and identify faces in photos

Facebook has announced it is using new face recognition tools to help you find yourself in photos that you are not tagged in, writes Denise O’Donoghue.

The social media company says it can help detect when others might be attempting to use your image as their profile picture.

The new features are being introduced around the world, except in Canada and the EU.

The new tools can be controlled with an ’on/off’ control. 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.

Facebook users will receive a notification if they appear untagged in a photo which you can see on Facebook. Users will not be notified if they are not the audience intended by the poster’s privacy settings.

Photo: Facebook

"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," a statement reads.

Evolving from this new feature, Facebook is set to notify users is another account posts a photo of them as their profile picture.

"We’re doing this to prevent people from impersonating others on Facebook," the company said.

The feature analyses the photos uploaded and compares them to a saved template.

"Our technology analyzes the pixels in photos you’re already tagged in and generates a string of numbers we call a template. When photos and videos are uploaded to our systems, we compare those images to the template."

These new tools will also allow people who are visually impaired to know more about the photos they encounter on Facebook.

"With face recognition, people who use screen readers will know who appears in photos in their News Feed even if people aren’t tagged."

Facebook's deputy chief privacy officer, Rob Sherman, says the company will use this technology responsibly.

"We believe we have a responsibility to build these features in ways that deliver on the technology’s promise, while avoiding harmful ways that some might use it," he said.

He moved to reassure users that the technology will not be used to identify you to strangers.

"We aren’t introducing, and have no plans to introduce, features that tell strangers who you are. This was a common concern we heard from people when we researched new features that rely on face recognition technology."

- Digital Desk

KEYWORDS: Technology, Facebook


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