Facebook makes available its face recognition technology to all users with an option to opt out, the social media company said on Tuesday, as it discontinued a related feature called “Tag Suggestions.”
The face recognition setting lets you manage not only whether Facebook uses face recognition technology on photos of you in order to suggest tags.
Starting today, people who newly join Facebook or who previously had the tag suggestions setting will have the face recognition setting and will receive information about how it works. The tag suggestions setting, which only controls whether Facebook can suggest that your friends tag you in photos or videos using face recognition will no longer be available.
People who still have the tag suggestions setting will begin to see a notice in their News Feed today. The notice will include information about the new features and options to learn more about how we use face recognition, along with a button to turn it on or keep it off. If you do not currently have the face recognition setting and do nothing, Facebook will not use face recognition to recognize you or suggest tags. In addition, features like Photo Review, which lets you know when you appear in photos even if you are not tagged, as long as you have permission to see the post based on its privacy setting, will not be activated. People will still be able to manually tag friends, but Facebook won’t suggest you to be tagged if you do not have face recognition turned on. If you already have the face recognition setting, you won’t receive a notice.
Facebook’s face recognition technology has been at the center of a privacy related lawsuit since 2015.
The lawsuit by Illinois users accused the company of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, claiming it illegally collected and stored biometric data of millions of users without their consent.
Last month, a federal appeals court rejected Facebook’s effort to undo the class action status of the lawsuit.
“We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time,” Facebook said last month.
The company said it continues to engage with privacy experts, academics, regulators and its users on face recognition and its control options.
Facebook has based its entire business model on data collection for years. And it highlights how much tech giants can find out about your from your photos.
The move to opt in is a good thing, but Facebook still has your data and still has to process those photos.