Facebook’s acquisitions of small technology companies have become commonplace events nowadays. There are many technology enthusiasts that follow these acquisitions closely and hope that it will help them decode what Facebook is cooking for the near future. Hidden by media chaos surrounding its IPO opening in May, Facebook has announced that it has successfully acquired Face.com, an Israel-based firm established in 2009, on July 18. It is clear that Facebook sees an instrumental role for facial recognition technology in the future of social networking.
Face.com is well-known for its accurate face recognition technology that their programmers utilized to develop two popular Facebook applications, namely Photo finder and Photo Tagger. The technology in question carries out facial recognition searches in photos uploaded via web and mobile applications. Facebook is interested in searching through pictures of its individual users and looking for users’ Facebook friends in them. The next step is to encourage users to tag their photos with appropriate and accurate names, in this case, names of friends whom Facebook’s facial recognition software recognized. Admittedly, Facebook’s face recognition tag service has a potentially valuable social use for many users who would like to have their uploaded pictures automatically tagged with their friends’ names given that their friends’ faces are present in the pictures. It is certainly a time-saving feature. This is not to say that Facebook’s decision and its way of executing it have no critics.
Those Facebook users peacefully sitting in front of their computers and laptops, wishing to keep a little bit more of their privacy away from Facebook might be disappointed. Through this ‘service’, Facebook gathers a lot of financially valuable and private information on users’ interaction with each other. Facebook’s decision on this issue is even more questionable given that its competition’s comparable service is steering clear of imposing it on its users. Google+’s ‘opt-inable’ face recognition picture-tagging service is an opt-in offering.
This does not mean that users’ hands are completely tied up. It is possible to stop Facebook from making tagging suggestions involving your appearance in friends’ photos to your friends. Below is how unhappy Facebook users can limit Facebook’s tagging service in this context:
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1) Go to your “Privacy Settings”
2) Next go to “Timeline and Tagging” and click on “Edit Settings”
3) Find “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?” line and Click on the appropriate box
4) Select “No one” if you don’t want Facebook to suggest to your friends when it has detected your appearance in a photo your friends uploaded
5) Press OK