June 8, 2011 / by James Whatley">James Whatley / 1000heads, Working / 4 Comments

1000heads: Facebook facial recognition: do you care?

Today’s headlines:

The news is out this morning that literally overnight, Facebook has switched on facial recognition for tagging by default. Typically of the gargantuan social network, the onus is on the user to opt-out of this ‘upgrade’.

A few things on this –  first, for the super-private, here’s how to do just that –

Step 1.
From the Facebook ‘Home‘ page, go to ‘Account‘ and then ‘Privacy Settings

Step 2.
From there, scroll down to ‘Customise Settings

Step 3.
Scroll down again until you find a section entitled ‘Things others share

You’ll find the setting you need to adjust (it’ll be the one automatically switched to ‘enabled’) right next to the above section. Done that? Right. Good.

To my second, and leading point/question – do you actually care?

Yes it’s easy to get annoyed about Facebook not asking permission to switch this on, as well as automatically assigning you the default setting of ‘Yes, I want this’. However, surely if you’re not an idiot when it comes to privacy, you’ve already got a certain amount of barriers and settings in place that prevent unwanted friends and tags taking place, right?

Surely, if you’re smart with your photo tagging (and with your friend requests for that matter), this new feature (whisper it) actually makes life easier.

Yes, tagging your friends in photos is fun, but it can take ages. Having Facebook SUGGEST [yes – ‘suggest’ – not ‘automatically tag’] to YOUR FRIENDS that you might be in one of their photos really isn’t such a big deal.

Moreover, with marketeers increasingly looking for new ways to interact with your relationships, there might even actually be some room here for some real life, campaign-based innovation. Amazing.

So, for me at least, the question still stands: when it comes to Facebook’s new facial recognition, do you care?

Answers on a postcard (or in the comments below).

Last updated by at .

4 comments on “1000heads: Facebook facial recognition: do you care?”

  1. Postcard? Haven’t downloaded that app yet. Must be Android.

    Anyway, in answer to the question, no I don’t care, but then I’m a 40 year old, relatively savvy internet user who doesn’t do TOO many things he’ll regret in the cold light of the facebook lightbox (having said that, there are a few questionable YouTube videos out there). I agree that it actually makes life easier and will increase interaction among people I hang out with since few of us bother to tag photos unless there is a specific reason to.

    As usual, however, it is that Facebook has made another change involving privacy without enough warning. It is like an unruly child that simply refuses to learn a lesson about what is good for it, and keeps jumping on the bed. “Someone’s gonna get hurt!”

    [Reply]

  2. Anonymous says:

    The much deeper question is the implication of Facebook automatically recognizing my face and storing that information somewhere without me being able to even know about this.
    Sure, I do not need to upload pictures of myself, but what if friends do that unbeknownst to me? Do I have to do a freedom of information act request to find out what they story about me? Where’s the privacy setting to explicitly tell Facebook not to recognize me on ANY picture (I don’t even have to have a Facebook account myself necessarily, and still they may tag me!)

    [Reply]

  3. TerenceEden says:

    Why do I share my photos on Facebook? Because I like my friends. Not because I want Budweiser to see that I’m holding a bottle of its competitor’s beer and try to advertise to me or my friends.

    If Facebook were a trustworthy company who created features to benefit their users – this would be a great feature.

    Whether they are or not is left as an exercise for the reader.

    Oh, @fkoehn it would be a Data Protection Act request.

    [Reply]

  4. One of the guiding principals of data protection is giving value to the person or group of people whose information you have stored. I see this sort of an adverse reaction as growing pains for Facebook. They have many users from many walks of life and have to come to terms with the diversity of opinions on whether something like auto-tagging is useful or not. Surely they could lump opt-outs for these things together into an engaging landing page that appears every 6 months and save themselves the agro. In the same way, Google could give us some nice examples of why we should share our data with them when we install Chrome or the Google toolbar rather than a dull dialogue box.

    [Reply]

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