Facebook To Create Database Of Users’ Profile Pictures To Improve Tag Suggest Feature

Facebook’s tag suggest feature for photos has seen its share of controversy, particularly in Europe, and the social network revealed Thursday in its new data use policy that it may begin collecting users’ profile pictures for a database aimed at improving the feature.

In a note on the Facebook Site Governance page detailing updates to the company’s data use policy and statement of rights and responsibilities, under the section, “How we use the information we receive,” Facebook wrote:

We made a few updates to this section to … explain that we will use profile pictures to suggest tags of you in photos.

The tag suggest feature uses facial-recognition technology to enable users to more quickly tag their friends in photos. Users can remove those tags, as well as choose to opt out of the tag suggest feature.

Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan discussed the changes with Reuters, saying that including users’ profile pictures in a database would make it easier for them to find photos that they appeared in, and adding:

Our goal is to facilitate tagging so that people know when there are photos of them on our service.

Can I say that we will never use facial-recognition technology for any other purposes? Absolutely not. If we decided to use it in different ways, we will continue to provide people transparency about that, and we will continue to provide control.

And Egan told the Los Angeles Times:

Now we are making it clear that moving forward, we also want to use your profile photos as an additional input into the technology to better recognize you. The benefit in being tagged is that you know photos exist.

The announcement of the proposed changes to Facebook’s governing documents was made in a note on the Facebook Site Governance page, as was the section-by-section summary of updates.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Facebook’s use of facial-recognition technology?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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