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    Facebook Expands Use Of Facial Recognition To ID Users In Photos

    Facebook is expanding its use of facial recognition software to alert users when photos of them are posted on the platform — whether or not they are tagged in the photo.
    By default, Facebook users in the U.S. will be signed up for these face recognition alerts, unless they have previously opted out of a similar, more limited feature. But users can turn off face recognition, Facebook says.
    Additionally, the company says it will roll out new tools to alert users if someone else may be impersonating them with a misleading profile photo.
    Facebook has been using facial recognition technology since 2010 to detect faces in photos and look for recognizable patterns to identify individuals. Facebook had the ability to pair names with faces thanks to the “tag photos” feature, which people use to label themselves and their friends in pictures. The tags act as links to the Facebook profiles of those in the photo.
    For years, the social media giant has offered “tag suggestion.” When a Facebook user uploaded a photo, the user would have the option of tagging the photo or labeling the people in it. Using its data on previous tags, Facebook would prompt the user uploading the photo to add more tags, using facial recognition to suggest people it recognized. Those who were tagged were sent notifications.
    Now, Facebook is cutting out the human element of that process. If facial recognition software identifies you in a photo, you’ll be automatically notified — no need for the person who posted the photo to approve a tag.
    This is only true for photos you are able to see. If a stranger adds a photo of you and makes it visible to just their friend group, you wouldn’t be notified, for instance.
    There are two related features that Facebook is planning to roll out soon.
    “We want people to feel confident when they post pictures of themselves on Facebook so we’ll soon begin using face recognition technology to let people know when someone else uploads a photo of them as their profile picture,” Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, the director of applied machine learning at Facebook, writes in a blog post. “We’re doing this to prevent people from impersonating others on Facebook.”
    Facebook will also use facial recognition to describe photos to people with visual impairments, “even if people aren’t tagged,” Candela writes.
    Users will be able to turn off all facial recognition features in their settings, under an option called “Face Recognition,” with just two options: yes and no. If you want to opt out, choosing “no” will keep Facebook from identifying your face to you and others based on face recognition. But it doesn’t stop Facebook from looking for other people’s faces in your photos.
    Before that option becomes available, you can achieve the same thing by turning off tag suggestions in your Facebook settings.
    The new option is not available in Canada and the European Union, Facebook notes, without explanation.
    npr.org

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