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Home / Technology / Apps /  Facebook will now find you in photos, even if you are not tagged

Facebook has just made artificial intelligence even more prevalent on the social media platform. The company has announced that it is unleashing facial recognition algorithms that will be able to identify you in photographs uploaded on the platform by any user, and notify you about it even if you are not tagged in the said photograph. The feature will work with all new photographs that are being uploaded on Facebook from 19 December onwards.

For this feature to work, Facebook will analyze your photos and make a customized template of your facial features, which, if triggered in a new photo upload by someone else, will immediately send you a notification.

Also read: Science suggests Facebook makes us more dismissive in arguments

As many as 2 billion Facebook users will get notifications if Facebook thinks they are a part of any photograph that has been uploaded by someone else. However, this feature is not being rolled out in Canada and the European Union at the moment, because of privacy regulations in those regions. This feature will make it easier to report to Facebook if any of your photos is uploaded by someone perhaps to impersonate, harass or bully.

Facebook, for some reason, has avoided using the term facial recognition or face recognition in the settings, which could somehow complicate the matters for users who might want to tweak this option. At present, you need to go to Facebook -> Settings -> Timeline and tagging and search for the option, “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?"

This is not the first time Facebook has given us facial recognition technology on the platform. It was back in 2010 when Facebook started offering suggestions to users to tag themselves in photos where its image recognition algorithm detected resemblance. In 2015, Facebook launched an app called Moments which recognized people from the photos that you clicked, making it simpler to share with friends.

Also read: How Facebook is changing its news feed

There is obviously the fear about the power that facial recognition technology wields, and the potential privacy issues around that. There could be concerns about Facebook’s algorithms misidentifying users, or simply failing to detect and informing someone simply because they looked too similar to someone else and hence no flag was raised. “When you have face recognition enabled, our technology analyzes the pixels in photos you’re already tagged in and generates a string of numbers we call a template. When photos and videos are uploaded to our systems, we compare those images to the template," says Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer, Facebook, in a formal post.

Facebook has made it plain that in no circumstances will the facial recognition feature reveal your identity to a stranger, and will update controls based on user feedback around the feature.

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