Facebook is the kind of company you would not want to trust with your data. The social networking giant recently announced in a blog post that it was making changes to its facial recognition feature. Facebook had kept the facial recognition automatically turned on in its app since at least December 2017 without seeking prior consent of users. The company is now going to make it an opt-in feature instead of a default setting.
The facial recognition feature allowed Facebook to automatically scan the photos you uploaded to your profile and suggested people you can tag in the photo. It would notify you if someone else posted or uploaded a picture of you as their profile photo. Yes, its algorithms are so advanced that it can recognize the people in your photo, primarily because it has built the world’s largest name-to-face database.
Now that face recognition has become an opt-in feature, it will be turned off for new users. Existing users will get a news feed notification over the next several days showing how you can opt-in or out of the feature. If you are concerned about your online privacy, you’d want to opt-out of it for good.
Despite what Facebook tells lawmakers and its investors, its horrendous track record suggests that the company has no respect for user privacy. It has landed in major controversies again and again for violating user privacy. Just a few weeks ago, the US regulators slapped a $5 billion penalty on Facebook for breaking its own promise to protect user data.
Here’s how you can turn off the facial recognition feature on Facebook:
- Open the Facebook app and tap the menu button (the three-lined icon at the bottom of the screen)
- Tap Settings & Privacy then go to Privacy Shortcuts
- Select Control Face Recognition
- Tap on the option asking whether you want Facebook to be able to recognize your face in a photo
- Turn it off
If you use Facebook via a web browser on your computer, log into your account in the browser and go to this page. Now choose to Edit your preferences and select No. That’s all.
Now that you have turned the feature off, the company will no longer scan your photos using the facial recognition technology. You will still be able to tag your friends in photos.