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20 December 2017, 01:25 | Jenny Fowler
Facebook still respects the privacy settings of people posting photos, so you won't get a notification for photos when you're not in the audience. Using facial recognition technology, Facebook can alert you to any photos in which you're visible regardless of whether or not you've been tagged.
"The words "face recognition" can make some people feel uneasy, conjuring dystopian scenes from science fiction", wrote Rob Sherman, Facebook's deputy chief privacy officer.
The feature, which is powered by Facebook's artificial intelligence technology, will alert users when someone else uploads a photo of them.
As optimistic as Facebook is about the new use case for its facial recognition technology, it also recognizes that this is not something that everyone is going to want to participate in. Face recognition will allow people who use screen readers to know who appears in photos in their News Feed even if people aren't tagged. When a new photo or video shows up on Facebook, it is compared to the template to determine who it is.
An additional feature will also inform users if anyone across the entire social network tries to post a profile picture containing them, Joaquin Candela, Facebook's director of applied machine learning, said.
People gave us feedback that they would find it easier to manage face recognition through a simple setting, so we're pairing these tools with a single "on/off" control.
Introduced two years ago, the technology recognises broad object categories like "trees" or "river" and will now be able to read out the names of people in the photos too, provided they Facebook users. But computers are getting better at recognizing us, and now Facebook has chose to use that to spot photos you're not tagged in.
Facebook is also using facial recognition to create new tools for those with visual impairments. According to Sherman, this option will "completely turn off face recognition technology" for a user's account.
Are you anxious about frenemies posting unflattering images of you on Facebook? The site will now recognize new accounts made by people you have blocked and prevent the new account from sending you friend requests or messages.
Facebook's use of facial recognition will be governed by an on / off switch.
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