Linked – Facebook announces new facial recognition features.

This may fall under the category of something that maybe Facebook would have been better not bragging about:

As many technology journalists suggested, the most compelling element of the announcement may be that the company will now help you find pictures of yourself, whether or not you’re tagged in them. Drawing on its existing “template” of what you look like, the company will tell you if it sees you in a picture that someone else has uploaded, assuming you have access to the photo, meaning that it’s publicly available or you are connected on the site. In its blog post, the company frames this new feature as a victory for user autonomy: “You’re in control of your image on Facebook and can make choices such as whether to tag yourself, leave yourself untagged, or reach out to the person who posted the photo if you have concerns about it.”

See, most of us are vaguely aware that companies, especially social media companies, are tracking a lot of information about us. But, much like when Netflix recently tweeted about people watching a Christmas movie every day for a couple of weeks, we don’t necessarily like to be reminded of it.

In other words, it’s odd enough that we know Facebook can look at a photo and suggest people to tag in it because it recognizes them. It’s another to actually go out and look at the whole platform and find pictures of us, and then make us aware of them.

It just serves as a constant reminder of how much Facebook is tracking us.

For me, though, there’s another concern.

If Facebook finds a photo that I really wish wasn’t online, I can remove a tag, and do my best to hide my connection to it, so that someone searching for evidence on me would not be able to find it, but Facebook knows it’s out there, and that I’m in it.

How secure is that data from being hacked? Would it be subject to a subpoena? Would Facebook turn it over to governments who demand it?

For many of us, we would prefer Facebook not have that sort of data laying around, but it’s too late for that.

Better hope there aren’t too many embarrassing, or potential illegal, photos of you out in the wild.


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