Facebook introduces tools to help users manage their identity using face recognition

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Facebook has introduced new, optional tools to help people better manage their identity on Facebook using face recognition.

Powered by the same technology the social platform has used previously to suggest friends you may want to tag in photos or videos, these new features help you find photos that you’re not tagged in and help you detect when others might be attempting to use your image as their profile picture.

Facebook is also introducing a way for people who are visually impaired to know more about who is in the photos they encounter on Facebook.

“People gave us feedback that they would find it easier to manage face recognition through a simple setting, so we’re pairing these tools with a single “on/off” control. If your tag suggestions setting is currently set to “none,” then your default face recognition setting will be set to “off” and will remain that way until you decide to change it,” read a statement on the Facebook Blog written by Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Director, Applied Machine Learning, Facebook.

Facebook will also notify you if you’re in a photo and are part of the audience for that post even if you haven’t been tagged. The new feature will allow users make choices such as whether to tag themselves, leave themselves untagged, or reach out to the person who posted the photo if they have concerns about it.

“We want people to feel confident when they post pictures of themselves on Facebook so we’ll soon begin using face recognition technology to let people know when someone else uploads a photo of them as their profile picture. We’re doing this to prevent people from impersonating others on Facebook,” said the statement.

Two years ago, Facebook launched an automatic alt-text tool, which describes photos to people with vision loss. Now, with face recognition, people who use screen readers will know who appears in photos in their News Feed even if people aren’t tagged.

Since 2010, face recognition technology has helped bring people closer together on Facebook. The 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, Facebook compares those images to the template.

Facebook users will be able to control whether Facebook can recognize them in photos and videos. Soon, Facebook users will begin to see a simple on/off switch instead of settings for individual features that use face recognition technology.

Facebook will introduce these new features in most places, except in Canada and the EU where we don’t currently offer face recognition technology.

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