Facebook on Tuesday said that they will be utilising facial recognition technology to identify users in their images uploaded by others and notifying them about it. The company believes that some users may want to be notified when someone posts their image without informing them. However, this is optional and will only be done for those users who agree to let Facebook keep a facial template of theirs.
Currently, the feature won’t be available in the European Union and Canada due to privacy laws being more stringent there compared to other countries. The company has said they are hopeful of introducing this new feature in those regions in the future.
As for the people who opt for this new feature, Facebook will create a template of users by analysing each and every image they have been tagged in. After the creation of the template, an algorithm will compare it to each new image uploaded. And if a new photo has been uploaded which matches the template, Facebook will then notify the user. Interestingly, the users will only be notified if and when they have access to the photo.
Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, Rob Sherman, in a press statement said that if the users feel uneasy after opting into the program, they will have the choice to opt out if it, which will make Facebook delete the face template they had previously generated.
He also said that they plan to add an “on/off” switch to the website which will allow users to control all Facebook features related to facial recognition. Going ahead, this feature will also be used to notify users if someone else uploads an image of them as a profile picture. This would in turn help reduce impersonations.