Facebook has recently introduced new face matching settings in which users can see if they are in a photo even if they are untagged. Currently Facebook is going about in implementing these changes and seeking consent from users in the EU and Canada. These changes however are not entirely new to Facebook as face matching was being used previously in the EU in 2011 until a year later protests over privacy forced it to stop. The face recognition technology couldn’t really make a comeback at a more controversial time in terms of fresh privacy concerns over the platform.
While Facebook is currently under much scrutiny for the privacy scandals involving the use of personal information, the network is also currently involved in a lawsuit in the US for implementing facial recognition without users consent. With its current reputation it seems that Facebook could be digging its own grave.
Silkie Carlo, director of UK civil liberties group Big Brother Watch said; "Biometric identification and tracking across the billions of photos on the platform exacerbates serious privacy risks to users. Facebook now has a duty to prove it has learned how to respect the law, not to prove it can take its surveillance capabilities to new depths."
The facial recognition works by assigning each user a number or template which is dependent on what that individual looks like in their profile photo and other identified images. Untagged photos can then be traced as they are compared to the templates in the database. Once a match has been detected Facebook tells the user who posted the picture and the person with the identified template. An advantage of this new technology is that it can help Facebook to find you friend suggestions. It is also ideal in preventing scammers using stolen pictures. The negatives however will outweigh the positives, and this could prove to be a disservice to the social network rather than a step in the right direction.
Rather than improving people’s experience on Facebook this new feature will potentially open the door for fresh criticism over privacy. In return for losing more privacy users will however still get to view their favourite clips of parrots on roller skates.