Facebook recently announced the return of facial recognition for photos, and as tends to happen whenever the company announces new features for its site, privacy advocates are wary of this latest potential intrusion on personal privacy on Facebook.
Facebook first introduced facial recognition in 2010, then pulled it last year, then announced last month that it is coming back (only in the U.S., for now, presumably because this feature got Facebook into a ton of trouble with European regulators last year). It is designed to make it easier for people to tag photos of their friends, but the potential downside is that you could be tagged in photos even if you don’t want to be and even if you didn’t even know you were even in those photos to begin with.
As per usual with Facebook, you are automatically opted into this feature. The good news, if you are at all concerned with protecting your online privacy and anonymity, is that you can opt out, thereby disabling this feature from being engaged when others upload photos of you. Here’s how:
Go to your privacy settings, then choose Timeline and Tagging from the left hand column. “How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions” find the “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?” Click “Edit.” You’ll see your two options are “Friends” and “No one” and while this presumably leaves absolute strangers free to tag you if they take a photo of you, perhaps Facebook will address that loophole. For now, choose which of these two options you prefer.