Facebook knows your Face!

Posted: June 23, 2011 by lenahaase in development, social life

Everyday, more than 100 million photos are tagged on Facebook. It works like this: Users can mark people they know on photos. Then, Facebook connects these marked pictures with the fitting profile.

Now, Facebook has developed a system, which makes it easier for people to tag others in a way it automatically presents you a suggestion which people might be depicted: Face Recognition!

Because the new feature is turned on by default and users have not been informed sufficiently about it, many people criticises this new system.

He was hoping for a privacy-friendly setting, the Hamburg Data Protection Commissioner John Caspar said on Wednesday. “The way the system is regulated, is not transparent for the user.”

After all, the automatic suggestions only work with the own Facebook friends, but not beyond. In addition, users are informed in case of tagging immediately and can remove it easily.

Watch this:

Facebook users have different opinions according to face recognition:

Thomas Nesges states on his blog that he likes this new feature. He enjoys not only the easiness of this new program; he also thinks that it is a good way to find out if pictures of you got uploaded. Moreover, he points out that if not Facebook itself had developed this feature, we would have assigned external firms to find our pictures on the web.

A different view is presented by PCWorld, an online magazine, which argues that facial recognition is “super-creepy”. They state that you can indeed “opt-out” this service; however, Facebook will continue to gather data and to recognize your face – “It’ll just keep people from tagging you automatically.

Ellie Steele, who writes for 4PsMarketing, mentions the concerns of most users regarding privacy and security issues. According to Steele, some users have formed a united opposition and have left Facebook immediately. Facebook apologises for the fact that it has not informed its users properly.

All in all, Facebook is on the rise and it will come up with more and more new programs and features. If you upload your personal data on the Internet, you must be aware of the fact that Facebook might use it. If you want to keep your Facebook profile, the only thing you can do is to inform yourself regularly about innovative ideas and systems. In case you are too afraid of publishing your personal data and you are totally against it, you merely have another choice than deleting your profile.

  1. itsonja says:

    Hey Lena,
    thanks for your post! I recently heard about it in the news but only very vaguely so it was very informative to learn more and hear different opinions about it. I also think it is very creepy that facebook is working on recognizing our faces immediately. I wonder what comes next?
    Your pictures and video made the blog very readable and it was well structured. Thanks for informing us about this new system on facebook. We should all be aware of that. Well done!

  2. NerdyLaura says:

    Hi Lena,
    I really liked this post a lot. You identified your target group (audience) and your posts are always short and informative but nevertheless full of charme. Great work!
    Your links are very well chosen and perfectly inserted into your text so they do not disurb the flow of the text.
    “Facial recognition is super-creepy” –> Hilarious! 🙂
    I think it is totally scary that Facebook APOLOGIZES for not informing users properly instead of actually INFORMING them about this new feature. Users always have to discover how to switch off new features on their own. Often I feel like the button to switch them off is somehow hidden. Intentionally, it seems…
    Do you want to know how to switch off Facebook’s Face Recognition? I found this instruction with pictures (screenshots). Have a look:
    Thumbs up!

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Lena,

    I also appreciate your blog post! It is well structured and easy to follow your thoughts. It gives the reader a detailed overview on what experts have written and said about Facebook’s latest feature the “face recognition”. You compare and contrast their opinion very well.
    Concerning the Face recognition; it did not surprise me to hear about this feature. I recently read an interesting article on CNN with the title: “Facebook facial recognition draws ire of Connecticut Attorney”(Link:Generalhttp://money.cnn.com/2011/06/17/technology/facebook_facial_recognition/index.htm).
    Personally, I do not think that Facebook can change much by introducing it to the Facebook crowd. I do not mind tagging people in a photo; it is done within a few seconds. Besides that; I doubt that Facebook’s developed system is as good as promised. If you have a list with 1000 friends; I just can’t imagine that it is possible to find out the right person especially if it is not a portrait of the person, light conditions are bad or the photo quality in general.
    I like the conclusion you make; people should not exaggerate they got two choices: either accept the change or quit Facebook.
    Thanks for the article!

    Best regards

  4. Marina Zaitseva says:

    Hi, Lena! I havent heard about this function on fb and after reading your post, I do think this is very creepy. Can not imagine to see one day pictures uploaded by someone else…

    And as Sonja said… I wonder too what is coming next…

    It is clear that fb must innovate smth new for staying attractive and making profit.

    For example, I have one profile on a russian network, called vkontakte.ru.
    I have never used fb before the russian version, but one day the russian version was so boring and all about the same, so I switched to fb. After a couple of months, I’ve noticed that the russian network has changed so much by adding new applications, so I use it back…..

    Great job!


  5. Fannysia says:

    Hi Lena 🙂 this is a very interesting topic you have done and thanks for providing us with links and videos which were very informative:) i really enjoyed your post and it was easy to follow your entire writing style. Face recognition is indeed very intelligent and it amazes me how advanced technology and indeed, it scares me how they may be able to store your features, your information and use it.

    and of course, with every great innovation comes scrutiny and criticisms. Read this on how facebook’s face recognition has stirred some commotions despite its functionality it tries to bring to its users: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/06/facebook-under-scrutiny-for-face-recognition-feature-from-privacy-group-eu.html

    Great topic, it got me thinking and really interested. thank you for the awesome read! good job!

  6. maxsc21 says:

    Interesting topic, Lena.. First I have to admit that I usually don’t care a lot about privacy stuff for example on facebook. It might be that I am too unconcerned, but in most cases I’m not scared of some information being presented online. Sure you can argue that facebook could pass on that biometrical data to third ones. But to be honest, I think that this is rather unlikely because facebook would fear the enormous legal consequences. Furthermore, you already accept to provide a lot of information by signing up to facebook.. to me that new system is only a drop in the bucket, especially if you remember that you cannot avoid it at all – as you have written, you can forbid the automatical tagging, but your biometrical information will be in the hands of facebook anyway.
    only my ideas..
    Thx for the post!

  7. Iris Ng says:

    Hi Lena,

    Fantastic post you have here! I have always known that Facebook and privacy issues go hand in hand, but this brings it to a whole new level.

    Personally, when I upload photos onto Facebook, I appreciate the auto-recognition feature as it helps me to tag my friends easier and more quickly than before. However, it never crossed my mind that this could bring about privacy issues.

    From the PCWorld article you provided in your post, it mentioned “Facial recognition technology will ultimately culminate in the ability to search for people using just a picture.For example, someone can simply take a photo of you on the street, in a crowd, or with a telephoto lens, and discover everything about you on the internet.

    That’s scary. But just like what you said, its all up to us to protect our own privacy and limit the kind of things we post on the internet!

  8. mengmei says:

    interesting blog post! Many people write about facebook but you find a very interesting way to do it so that readers will not be bored and have patience to go through yours. And I really love the pictures you use because just seeing the interesting pictures and videos, readers can understand your main idea so that your short article is clear enough to present what you want to say.
    I think it is not news to know that facebook can recognize faces when you upload photos. And in China, there is a quite similar one called “renren”, so even me, who not use facebook usually, I still know it and of course it has something to do with privacy which we cannot avoid online.Therefore, we have to think carefully everytime before doing things online to protect our privacy.

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