What’s Wrong With This Facebook Picture?
Most people today will tell you that they are willing to permit websites access to personal information to get more relevant offers and a more meaningful experience. It’s widely expected by consumers that nothing will happen without their permission. You would think that the internet savvy management at Facebook would know that, which makes the company’s approach to its facial recognition technology all the more perplexing.
Rather than having members opt-in, Facebook requires them to opt-out of the technology that matches photos on the site to facial recognition profiles. Once a person has been tagged in a photo, others adding other photos with that same person will receive a prompt with his or her name.
Facebook has developed a video to show members how to turn off its facial recognition program. The move was prompted by questions by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen who had contacted Facebook over privacy concerns.
While Mr. Jepsen seems happy with the opt-out video, we continue to wonder why Facebook doesn’t turn off the technology and simply ask members if they want it?
A PCWorld article back in June, Why Facebook’s Facial Recognition is Creepy, also questioned why it would require members to opt-out instead of in. The piece pointed out that Facebook has 600 million members who have uploaded over 90 billion photos.
The article goes a little Orwellian: "Right now Facebook is using this technology to help people tag photos. But once they have an accurate facial recognition database of several hundred million people? Hmm."
- Facebook Runs Ads Teaching Users How To Turn Off Facial Recognition – Mashable
- Why Facebook’s Facial Recognition is Creepy – PCWorld
Discussion Questions: Do you find anything troubling about Facebook’s opt-out requirement for its facial recognition technology? Do you expect Facebook to use the technology for advertising or e-commerce targeting purposes?