Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Facebook Will Now Alert Users When It Recognizes Them in Photos They’re Not Tagged In

Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica:

Today, Facebook announced that it will start using its facial recognition technology to find photos of you across its site, even if you aren’t tagged in those photos. The idea is to give you more control over your identity online by informing you when your face appears in a photo, even those you don’t know about. According to a Facebook blog post, the new feature is powered by the same AI technology used to suggest friends you may want to tag in your own uploaded images.

The feature, dubbed Photo Review, has one caveat: you’ll only be notified of an untagged photo of yourself if you’re in the intended “audience” of that photo. “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,” the blog post says.

To be clear, Facebook is now only making public what they’ve been doing privately for years: building a massive catalogue of recognized faces matched to names, birthdays, locations, and so on. It also means that they likely have an enormous catalogue of faces matched to people who are not members and, therefore, also knows their relationship to Facebook users. Kashmir Hill of Gizmodo was told by a Facebook representative that this facial recognition capability is not used for the People You May Know feature, though, so it won’t expose that information publicly right now.

For what it’s worth, Photo Review will not be made available to European or Canadian Facebook users because of local privacy laws. I am completely fine with that.