Facebook has announced a new feature that will alert users when an untagged photo of them is uploaded by someone else.
The social network’s latest facial-recognition-feature-of-questionable-integrity is designed to protect user identities, while helping people quickly spot photos they haven’t approved for public consumption.
However, and here’s the kicker, in order to opt in, Facebook must store a “facial template” on its servers, to compare to newly-added photos. Because of course they must.
Once users have given the OK, they’ll get a notification if Facebook thinks a photo of them has been uploaded, even if they haven’t been tagged.
It will enable people to “better manage their identity on Facebook using face recognition,” the firm says, claiming it’ll also help combat the rise fake accounts using other people’s photos.
Unfortunately, or thankfully, depending on your outlook, the facial recognition feature won’t be coming to the UK, thanks to EU rules.
Perhaps when Britain leaves, Facebook will have more freedom to store facial templates on its servers?
Anyway, snark aside, Facebook believes users who opt in will have more power to control what happens after the photo goes live.
Handy or harmful?
The feature could potentially be handy if a friend has posted a picture of a user in a position that wouldn’t be appreciated by their family or employer. We’ve all got friends like that, right?
In a blog post (via Buzzfeed) Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, director of applied machine learning at Facebook, wrote: “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. ‘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.”
Facebook says the ‘facial template’ will be deleted if users opt out of the feature.
Do you think Facebook’s facial recognition software is creepy? Or helpful in protecting our privacy? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.