Facebook has quietly brought facial-recognition technology back in Europe after disabling its tag suggest feature there in October 2012, but it only works on friends from the U.S. who have enabled the tag suggest option in their profile settings, according to a report by TechCrunch.
Facebook continues to encourage its users to tag photos, as MarketSnare Director of Visibility and Social Media Kevin Mullett shared the screen shot to the left with sister blog Inside Facebook, of a module with the headline, “Now It’s Easier to Tag Photos.”
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.
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.
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.