By Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Director, Applied Machine Learning
Today we’re announcing new, optional tools to help people better manage their identity on Facebook using face recognition. Powered by the same technology we’ve used to suggest friends you may want to tag in photos or videos, these new features help you find photos that you’re not tagged in and help you detect when others might be attempting to use your image as their profile picture. We’re also introducing a way for people who are visually impaired to know more about who is in the photos they encounter on Facebook.
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.
Know When You Appear in Photos on Facebook
Now, if you’re in a photo and are part of the audience for that post, we’ll notify you, even if you haven’t been tagged. 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. We always respect the privacy setting people select when posting a photo on Facebook (whether that’s friends, public or a custom audience), so you won’t receive a notification if you’re not in the audience.
Profile Photo Safety
We want people to feel confident when they post pictures of themselves on Facebook so we’ll soon begin using face recognition technology to let people know when someone else uploads a photo of them as their profile picture. We’re doing this to prevent people from impersonating others on Facebook.
New Tools for People with Visual Impairments
We’re always working to make it easier for all people, regardless of ability, to access Facebook, make connections and have more opportunities. Two years ago, we launched an automatic alt-text tool, which describes photos to people with vision loss. Now, with face recognition, people who use screen readers will know who appears in photos in their News Feed even if people aren’t tagged.
How it Works and the Choices You Have
Since 2010, face recognition technology has helped bring people closer together on Facebook. Our technology analyzes the pixels in photos you’re already tagged in and generates a string of numbers we call a template. When photos and videos are uploaded to our systems, we compare those images to the template.
You control whether Facebook can recognize you in photos and videos. Soon, you will begin to see a simple on/off switch instead of settings for individual features that use face recognition technology. We designed this as an on/off switch because people gave us feedback that they prefer a simpler control than having to decide for every single feature using face recognition technology. To learn more about all of these features, visit the Help Center or your account settings.
We are introducing these new features in most places, except in Canada and the EU where we don’t currently offer face recognition technology.