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With the revelation that Facebook is using facial recognition technology to provide tagging suggestions by default, serious controversy has been sparked among Facebook users. Lots of debate has been going on regarding the available new technology. Some think it will be great, while others say they are not fond of this new feature and want to leave Facebook immediately.
Basically, Facebook is using facial recognition technology to suggest tags to users who upload photos. In other words, Facebook helps users automatically identify people in their photos, encouraging friends to tag them so others can gain access to the images more easily.
Facebook’s purpose is to make the tagging process quicker and simpler as part of greater effort on Facebook’s behalf to improve the entire photo uploading, browsing and tagging process. With the facial recognition technology, Facebook needs to apply a newly uploaded photos feature.
However, “yet again, it feels like Facebook is eroding the online privacy of its users by stealth,” said Graham Cluley, of the British Internet security firm Sophos. With Facebook’s facial recognition, if you’re not careful, it might identify your face to people who are familiar with it, as well as to their friends, who might not be.
The real problem is not that your face is going to be recognized by everyone — it is your total lack of control over how you can be tagged. “Many people feel distinctly uncomfortable about a site like Facebook learning what they look like, and using that information without their permission.”
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington Dc, criticized the way Facebook had automatically opted users into its facial recognition system by default. Furthermore, with Facial Recognition software, Facebook users could have given their permission in their privacy settings for Facebook without intent.
Following the criticism of Tag Suggestion, Facebook said “we should have been more clear with people during the roll-out process when this became available to them.” It seems that Facebook frequently pushes its users to reveal more of their privacy online by implementing new features automatically.
Many of Facebook’s users feel uncomfortable and confused when the many different kinds of Facebook tool invade their private life to this degree — without their control. However, if you find yourself in the photo and you don’t want Facebook to automatically identify you, what you can do to ignore this application?
Luckily, Facebook users can disable the feature by turning off the “suggest photos of me to friends” option in their Privacy Setting page even though it’s quite a complicated process.