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Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Facebook Enables Face Recognition Technology In Photo Tagging

Facebook has expanded the availability of the "Tag Suggestions" feature, a technology that automatically identify people in photos, renewing concerns about the privacy practices of the world's top social networking service.

The company first announced Tag Suggestions last year for North American users only. The facial recognition technology help users tag their friends in photographs.

Now might be a good time to check your Facebook privacy settings as many Facebook users are reporting that the site has enabled the option in the last few days without giving users any notice.

There are billions of photographs on Facebook's servers. As your Facebook friends upload their albums, Facebook will try to determine if any of the pictures look like you. And if they find what they believe to be a match, they may well urge one of your Facebook friends to tag it with your name.

If for any reason you don't want your name to be suggested, you will be able to disable suggested tags in your Privacy Settings. Your name will no longer be suggested in photo tags. The tagging is still done by your friends, not by Facebook, but rather creepily Facebook is now pushing your friends to go ahead and tag you. Facebook does not give you any right to pre-approve tags. Instead the onus is on you to untag yourself in any photo a friend has tagged you in. After the fact.

"Unfortunately, once again, Facebook seems to be sharing personal information by default. Many people feel distinctly uncomfortable about a site like Facebook learning what they look like, and using that information without their permission," " wrote Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"The onus should not be on Facebook users having to "opt-out" of the facial recognition feature, but instead on users having to "opt-in", he added. "Yet again, it feels like Facebook is eroding the online privacy of its users by stealth."

In order to disable the "Suggest photos of me to friends" feature, you may go to your Facebook account's privacy settings.

- Click on "Customise settings".
- Under "Things others share" you should see an option titled "Suggest photos of me to friends. When photos look like me, suggest my name".

- Click on "Edit settings".
- If Facebook has enabled auto-suggestion of photo tags you will find the option says "Enabled".

- Change it to "Disabled" if you don't want Facebook to work that way.
- Press "OK".

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