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Facebook to introduce facial-recognition technology

June 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Everyone who has a Facebook account knows what a pain it can be to tag all your friends and family in photos. So Facebook is making it a little easier by doing it for us, thanks to some cutting-edge facial-recognition software. But some are now saying that making it easier could also be an invasion of privacy.

Once again Facebook is adding a feature to its social networking site without your knowledge. And once again you have to opt out.

Most users like to tag their photos with names of people in them. But up until recently you had a choice if you wanted them tagged. Now Facebook does it for you.

The feature is not going to be well-received by users, says Karen North, director of the USC Annenberg Program on Online Communities.

"People probably want to see each picture that's tagged of them. They want to be notified of what it is, and they want to see who has it and where it's being displayed," said North.

Compromising photos have a way of getting into the wrong places. Parents may worry their children could post photos that might show up later when they're trying to get into college or applying for a job.

If you want to stop automatic tagging of your photos, you have opt out yourself by going to your Facebook home page's "account" tab and clicking on "privacy settings." Then click on "customize settings" and scroll down until you get to "suggest photos" and then click on "edit settings." Then click on "disable." Now you're in control of your Facebook settings.

But North says an even bigger problem may be on the way with your privacy and your photos all over the Internet through Google. Google has the same technology as Facebook and it's a matter of time before they roll it out.

"I think most people do not want unknown pictures of themselves out there for the entire world, not just for their Facebook network," said North.

North says one good thing about Google's software is you will have to opt in for its face-recognition software to work.