If you’ve been seeing a weird News Feed alert from none other than Facebook pop up in your timeline, you’re definitely not alone. Facebook is letting almost everyone know about its new facial recognition feature despite having announced it last December. Here’s what the post looks like:
The aforementioned post explains how if the user opts for the new feature, Facebook would simply notify them about photos that they appear in. Users also have the option to add tags to the photo, untag themselves, and even report the photo if found to be inappropriate. Facebook identifies the user’s face using a “face print” gathered from all the other photos that the user has appeared in. For years the feature was previously only used for tagging friends in photos.
Facebook says that the new function is used to help control one’s image online. Their head of privacy, Rob Sherman spoke to The Verge back in December, saying “We really thought this as a privacy feature for a long time. If someone posts a photo of you, you might not know about it,”
The question of why Facebook decided to let people know about it now probably has to do with a US federal court ruling against them, claiming that they have violated the Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires consent and notice before collecting one’s biometric information.