We are so used to notifications from Facebook informing us that we have been tagged in a photo by a friend. This tagging started back in 2010 and is now a norm. But Facebook’s facial recognition is now becoming smarter and won’t need any human input for the tags.
It has been quite some time now with the suggestive tagging. You open a picture and Facebook suggests that you tag the people in it but now Facebook’s facial recognition will inform you whenever your photo is uploaded by anyone.
“Now, if you’re in a photo and are part of the audience for that post, we’ll notify you, even if you haven’t been tagged,” the company explained in a blog post this week, announcing its new facial recognition features. “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.”
Facebook is the biggest social network with over 2 billion monthly users and this new feature tells us how powerful Facebook’s facial recognition software has become. It has been fueled by billions of images that we have voluntarily submitted to it over the years.
“Facebook’s face-recognition technology is now so powerful that it can recognize you in any photo, anywhere, even if it has no other reason to expect to find your face in that photo,” Kashmir Hill explains at Gizmodo. “It’s easy to identify your face if Facebook is only looking for you among the photos your friends have uploaded. It’s harder if the possible pool is more than a billion people, a.k.a. Facebook’s entire user base.”
The way the feature works is that whenever Facebook identifies a photo that you have access to see, it sends you a notification saying that there’s a new photo that might include you and you can choose to tag yourself or ignore it. You can also opt out of the facial recognition entirely. There is an on/off switch in the accounts settings that will let you deactivate the tool.
However, if you do opt out of it, you will lose access to all its features, and let’s say someone makes an account with your name and your profile picture, you will not be informed. “It’s a dilemma that’s baked into the Tuesday announcement itself,” Jacob Brogan explains over at Slate. “[I]f you want to protect yourself on the platform – whatever that means to you – you have to open yourself up to its own surveillance tools.”
It might be an effective tool to find your photos uploaded by your friends that you might have missed otherwise but it all depends on the person’s preference if he is willing to subject himself to the Facebook’s facial recognition software.