Facebook knows you're in a photo before being tagged

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Given that potential creepiness, and our longstanding interest in how People You May Know actually works, a Facebook spokesperson pre-emptively sent us a note about the facial recognition tool.

"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 new features are launching worldwide except in Canada and the European Union where Facebook now doesn't offer facial recognition technology. You won't, for instance, receive a notification when someone shares an image to a private network, group or message, that would be deemed as violating that individuals privacy rights. The company says that this will give users more control over how their images are being used on its service by letting them know when they have appeared in a picture on its site and then giving the options to tag themselves, leave themselves untagged, or to reach out to the person who uploaded the picture if concerned. 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.

Are you anxious about frenemies posting unflattering images of you on Facebook?

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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. From there, you basically climb down the social media rabbit hole, looking at older pictures and friends you previously didn't engage with as much.

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.

Facebook will let you know when someone posts a photo of you - even if you aren't tagged in it - becoming the latest tech giant to add more facial recognition technology into users' everyday lives. These settings boil down to Facebook demanding forgiveness after refusing to ask for permission, and it may not sit well with users. That would be a boon for Facebook's People You May Know tool, allowing it to suggest as friends people whose faces appeared in the background of photos it identified you in, or vice versa.

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