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AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File
AP Photo/Jenny Kane
FACE(BOOK) RECOGNITION

Facebook won’t use facial recognition on you unless you tell it to

Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

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Facebook has been using facial recognition to suggest tagging you in photos that a friend had uploaded, unless you told it not to—until today. Now, users will have to opt into allow Facebook to use facial recognition on them and their photos, rather than opt out.

For users who have already turned off the feature, nothing will change. But if you’re a new Facebook user, or had it turned on, you’ll soon get a notice telling you that you can agree to Facebook collecting your biometric data, or refuse it if you’d prefer your face stay private.

“We don’t share your face recognition information with third parties. We also don’t sell our technology,” Facebook said in a release Sept. 3.

Facial recognition is most commonly used on Facebook to tag people in photos, and the new “face recognition” feature replaces the “tag suggestions,” one, which automatically showed the names of your friends who are in the photo, asking you to tag them. Face recognition will identify a user in a photo that someone else uploaded (if they are in the photo’s audience), unless they’ve opted out of the feature. It’s been available to some users since 2017, and now it will be rolled out to everyone.

The changes come after the “tag suggestions” feature was the subject of a lawsuit in Illinois over the use of biometric data. A federal appeals court ruled in August that users can sue the company over the use of facial recognition technology.

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