Facebook’s tag suggest feature and use of facial-recognition technology is moving in different directions on opposite sides of the globe, as the social network reintroduced the feature in the U.S. last week, while at the same time deleting all facial-recognition data in Europe, where tag suggest has been disabled since last October.
Facebook last week quietly reintroduced its tag suggest feature, which uses facial-recognition technology to assist users in tagging their friends in photos. So, what can users do in order to avoid being tagged in photos that they do not wish to be tagged in?
Facebook’s controversial tag suggest feature for photos, which was temporarily suspended last year amid concerns over the use of facial-recognition technology, is being re-enabled in the U.S., the social network announced in a post on its Facebook and Privacy page.
Newton Lee’s book, Facebook Nation: Total Information Awareness, is a great book for social media experts, offering a comprehensive look at Facebook in the context of social media, and covering privacy well.
Facebook appeared to have settled concerns within the European Union over its use of facial-recognition technology with Friday’s announcement of an agreement between the social network and Ireland’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, but the memo apparently never made it to Hamburg, Germany.
Irish eyes (and those of the rest of the European Union) are finally smiling on Facebook, as Ireland’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner announced that “the great majority” of the privacy recommendations it made to the social network to keep it in compliance with those of the EU have been “fully implemented to the satisfaction of this office.” The major concession by Facebook: Its tag suggest feature, which enabled facial recognition for Facebook photos, has been turned off for all new users in the EU, with existing users to lose access to the feature by Oct. 15.
The 45,000-plus developers that previously used facial-recognition application-programming interfaces from Face.com and saw those APIs shuttered after the company was acquired by Facebook may have an alternative via startup Lambda Labs.
McAfee Tuesday officially announced the launch of a free public beta version of McAfee Social Protection, a new Facebook application and browser plugin that displays users’ Facebook photos as blurs, which can only be displayed properly once users’ friends have installed McAfee Social Protection.
Europeans are growing increasingly suspicious of Facebook’s facial-recognition efforts. Earlier this month, Norway announced that it is looking into the legality of the social network’s technology. Now, Germany is doing the same. Data-protection officials in Germany worry that Facebook is compiling a photo database of users without their consent, so they are reopening their investigation.