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Facebook in Another Privacy Gaffe; Here We Go Again – Tech Thursday

Facebook seems to be, once again, wading into another privacy issue with it’s users. According to security firm Sophos, Facebook has turned on their new facial recognition technology, that they announced last year,  on some users accounts, without letting those users opt-in.

Facebook Reveals Latest Technology Powering Its Website
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The technology is supposed to make it easier to tag friends in photos. So all you would have to do, is just upload a group of photos, tag your friends in one, and Facebook would go through the other photos, and suggest a tag be added for friends it is able to match in those other photos. The person who uploaded the photos still does the tagging though. Sounds great, unless you don’t want to be tagged in a photo. But without telling users, Facebook has started turning this feature on. And Facebook doesn’t let you opt-out of you being tagged before the fact, only after someone has tagged you.

If you haven’t checked your Facebook settings yet, to see if this feature has been turned, you might want to. Especially if you don’t want to be tagged in photos. To check the settings,

  • Go to your Facebook account’s privacy settings, click on “Customize settings”
  • Under “Things others share” you should see an option titled “Suggest photos of me to friends. When photos look like me, suggest my name”.
Facebook Screenshot
  • Unfortunately at this point you can’t tell whether Facebook has enabled the setting or not, you have to dig deeper..
  • Click on “Edit settings”.

Facebook Screenshot
  • If you want to disable this feature, choose disable.
  • Click OK

The above picture shows that this feature was turned on, on my Facebook account, which I did turn off. And I wasn’t told that it was being turned on or the option to opt-out.

Now my questions for you are, does a user like you know about some of these settings? Do you care about if those settings are turned on or off by default? Would you like to be asked about those settings?

I personally, would like to be informed and be able to opt-in to new features after I have had the chance to consider the possible results of those choices. In other words, I would like to make those decisions for myself Mr. Zuckerberg. And I’m betting so would a whole bunch of other users. When you arbitrarily make decisions for me, I kind of feel like you don’t respect me, or my privacy. But then again, you have said that online privacy needs to change. I don’t mind the change, so long as I control the “change” for me. Diaspora is looking better and better now.


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