Facebook is providing more information to users about new facial recognition features of the social media platform that were first announced at the end of last year.
The features are designed to automatically detect when pictures of a user are uploaded to the platform without their knowledge, or when their image is used as a profile photo by another user. In other words, they’re security features for end users. But Facebook is apparently wary about the potential creepiness of this technology, and is now sending a notification to some users explaining what the feature does.
Interestingly, there are two different versions of this notification: One which explains that the feature is turned off, but that users can activate it in settings; and the other explaining the reverse – that the feature is already on, but can be turned off. It isn’t yet clear why some users are automatically opted in and others are automatically opted out, but it’s possible Facebook is doing some A/B testing here to see how many users opt out of the feature versus how many opt in. That might yield some interesting data, but it may also reinforce a creeping feeling for Facebook users who are starting to feel like the company’s lab rats.
In any case, one other new facial recognition feature should prove to be uncontroversial: Facebook says it’s also using the machine vision technology to tell visually impaired users who is in their photos and videos – a clear example of how this technology can benefit some users.
March 1, 2018 – by Alex Perala