A little-known new feature of Facebook, previously only available in America, has been rolled out into other countries with little fanfare and no attempt to ask permission first, sparking privacy concerns. The software uses facial recognition to identify people in uploaded photos, then automatically tags the people it finds a match for using previous photos.
When the function was initially introduced in America, the company explained on their blog that it was possible to turn it off via the privacy settings, however no similar message has been provided for other countries. While many users will appreciate the timesaving aspect of this feature, others will be concerned that any picture taken of them will instantly be tagged as containing them as soon as it is uploaded, before they have the opportunity to decide if they want it to be.
A serious concern of Facebook since it first reached popular status is the ability to put photographs of other people on the internet (to be seen by thousands or millions of strangers) without any express permission given first. Although it is possible to ‘de-tag’ yourself, you cannot demand that photographs are removed just because they contain you. This alteration to the privacy rules of Facebook should not have been implemented without first asking users if they agreed to it.
If you wish to disable the function, deselect the option for “Suggest photos of me to friends” in your privacy settings.