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. They include the ability "to choose whether to tag yourself, leave yourself untagged, or reach out to the person who posted the photo if you have concerns about it", according to Candela's post. The only exception to this is if the image was set as a profile picture, which is useful if you want to identify fake accounts.
The setting is refreshingly simple within Facebook's app. If you've already opted out of that feature, you will also be automatically opted out of the new facial recognition features.
The new features debuting will be available everywhere except Europe and Canada, where privacy regulators have previously raised objections to Facebook's auto photo tagging feature, Sherman said.
The new features are launching worldwide except in Canada and the European Union where Facebook now doesn't offer facial recognition technology.
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If you aren't in the audience, Candela says, you won't receive a notification.
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. By looking at photos from an event, for example, and identifying the faces, Facebook could know everybody who was there and know they might be connected. "We listen carefully to feedback from people who use Facebook, as well as from experts in the field", Sherman wrote.
The same technology is also being used for a new tool that supports people with visual impairments. More specifically, the poster must set the image's audience to "everyone" for you to be notified. It's harder if the possible pool is more than a billion people, a.k.a. Facebook's entire user base. Apple replaced its fingerprint reader with a facial recognition camera to unlock its latest iPhone, and also uses facial recognition to sort photos. "We've also heard from groups that work with survivors of domestic violence that being able to see messages is often a valuable tool to assess if there is risk of additional abuse".