Facebook simplifies face recognition opt-out process

Auto-tagging feature is opt-out
Auto-tagging feature is opt-out

Facebook has made its 'tag suggestions' feature, which uses facial-recognition software, easier to disable after concerns were raised about its invasiveness.

Some users of the 750 million-member social network had complained that this feature was intrusive, including US Attorney General George Jepsen, who wrote a letter to Facebook complaining that storing data about users' faces was a threat to basic human rights.

Facebook responded with a blog post last month, explaining that it is now posting adverts on the website which allow users to easily opt out of using the technology completely.

The social network also promises to delete any facial recognition data stored on its system once users opt-out.

Your face or mine?

Facebook, which had hoped that users "would find the results to be helpful and useful", should not really be surprised that these complaints arose, having stealthily rolled the feature out to users around the world over the course of the year.

Google's Picasa and the Apple OS iPhoto programme also use forms of facial-detection but were more for personal use and you could choose whether to use them or not.

On Facebook though, 'tag suggestions' were made a default feature and constantly asked "who is this?" to its users when they uploaded images.

It remains to be seen how Google will make use of its recently acquired Pitt Patt facial-recognition software, with rumours that it could be integrated with the Google+ social network, Google Goggles or even YouTube, signalling that the privacy debate may be far from over.