Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Still think its safe? Facebook now knows what you look like as it rolls out face recognition by stealth - 8th June 2011

Facebook has eroded the online privacy of millions of its users by switching on facial recognition technology without telling them, a technology expert said today.

The leading social networking website has 'enabled' a function that automatically identifies people in photos without their knowledge.

The feature has been expanded from the United States to 'most countries', Facebook said on its official blog yesterday.

Its 'Tag Suggestions' feature uses facial recognition technology to speed up the process of labeling friends and acquaintances that appear in photos posted on Facebook.

So if a friend 'tags' you in one photo, the technology will automatically scan your face and then try and find matches among all their pictures. It will then suggest that they 'tag' these photos of you as well.

Tagged photos typically appear in your photo stream as well as in your friends streams, depending on your settings.

When the function was launched in the U.S, Facebook contacted users directly a few weeks before - an action not taken in Europe.

Internet security consultant firm Sophos first reported the change yesterday, after Facebook users reported that the site had enabled the facial recognition option in the last few days without giving users any notice.

'Yet again, it feels like Facebook is eroding the online privacy of its users by stealth,' wrote Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos. Read More

HOW TO SWITCH OFF FACIAL RECOGNITION

Sign into your Facebook account.

Click on Account on the top right of the page and then Privacy Settingson the drop-down menu.

Click on Customize settings.

Scroll down to 'Suggest photos of me to friends' and click Edit.

Change setting from Enabled to Disabled and save.