Facebook expands its use of facial recognition technology

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The feature likely won't be as annoying as described above, as Facebook's announcement post claims it only notifies you if "you're in a photo and part of the audience for that post", which presumably means if it was taken by a friend or a friend of a friend.

These new additions expand on how Facebook already uses facial recognition, which is primarily through "tag suggestions" - a feature started in 2010 that suggests which of your friends should be tagged in photos that you upload to the site.

Facebook will also notify you when someone else uses a photo of you for a profile picture. 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. Now, with face recognition, people who use screen readers will know who appears in photos in their News Feed even if people aren't tagged.

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The goal of the feature, according to Facebook, is to help users better manage their online identity. It's harder if the possible pool is more than a billion people, a.k.a. Facebook's entire user base.

Soon, the Facebook app will have an opt-in toggle for the facial recognition alert. When a new photo or video shows up on Facebook, it is compared to the template to determine who it is. In line with ongoing advancements in facial recognition technology, Facebook will do this even if you're not tagged. The social network doesn't use facial-recognition technology in those regions, due to wariness from privacy regulators.

In addition to improved identity management, Facebook is also introducing a way for people who are visually impaired to know more about who is in the photos they encounter on Facebook. You'll be able to find the on/off switch in Settings under Face Recognition, which will disable the notifications. According to Sherman, this option will "completely turn off face recognition technology" for a user's account. The idea is to prevent people from impersonating others on the social network. Apple replaced its fingerprint reader with a facial recognition camera to unlock its latest iPhone, and also uses facial recognition to sort photos.

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