Facebook is going to use facial recognition technology to allow people to tell others when they have uploaded photos of them, regardless of whether they have been tagged or not.
However, users will have to agree to allow the social network to keep a template of their face to start using the tool.
Facebook made the announcement as part of a privacy move. The feature is supposed to protect people from having their images shared without consent. This should also prevent impersonations across the network.
Meanwhile, critics are concerned that the feature could lead to misuse in the future.
In a blog post, the company said:
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.
For now, the tool is only rolling out in the US. Given strict privacy clauses in the EU and Canada which prevent such data capturing, it is unlikely facial recognition will be available there.
Facial recognition technology has been part of the Facebook portfolio since 2010. Early versions of the technology suggested to users whom they could tag in a photo.
The social network also stressed that although it creates templates of people tagged in photos, these can be easily deleted once a user opts out of the feature.