In its newest feature, announced on Tuesday, social media giant Facebook disclosed that it can now let you know when a photo of you has been posted -- even if you don't get tagged in the photo. Since new facial recognition technology is currently being added to devices and applications everywhere -- Apple's iPhone X is the perfect example here -- it comes as no great surprise that Facebook would be next to incorporate some kind of facial scanning in its own platform.
The new feature is meant to act as a control measure for one's image, ultimately, as users can now pinpoint exactly where and how they show up, all across social media. Although this is the first official announcement that the company is moving more intensely towards facial technology -- and perhaps farther away from previous forms of individual security as it skews more towards control over one's presence -- facial recognition has long been a part of Facebook's platform.
Suggestions of people to tag in photos is a feature that began as early as 2010. And apparently, those who opted out of suggested tags will automatically not have their face recognized. The new feature is largely an attempt to curb fake accounts and "catfishing," the act of using someone else's identity in an attempt to mislead others. It's also meant to help improve accessibility to the visually impaired -- those looking at a screen-reader for information can hear their friends identified by name rather than simply by description.
However, the new feature naturally raises concerns about how Facebook is becoming a powerhouse of important, intensely personal data. As an article in AdAge points out:
"You can also look at this as a creepy reminder of exactly how much Facebook knows about you. (Creeped-out users can opt out of this new tool.)"
Now that more and more tech companies are moving towards facial recognition technology, it can feel difficult to escape the inevitable: that we have to trust these tech corporations with our faces, fingerprints, and more.
The most recently announced features begin their official appearance on Tuesday. Currently, facial recognition features on Facebook are not yet allowed in Canada or Europe, although they are in the United States. Countries which have not yet permitted the technology have voiced concerns about the facial recognition data, and how the company complies with various privacy laws overall.