07 June 2011

New York Times article on the new facebook facial recognition “feature” and how to turn it off (it’s default is on):

Facebook is pushing the privacy line once again, according to a new report from a security and antivirus company.

According to the report, from Sophos, Facebook recently began changing its users’ privacy settings to automatically turn on a facial recognition feature that detects a user’s face in an image. Once the person’s face is detected, the Web site then encourages Facebook friends to tag them. Facebook introduced this feature last year for its North American users; it is now rolling it out globally.

Facebook also doesn’t give users the option to avoid being tagged in a photo; instead, people who don’t want their name attached to an image must untag themselves after the fact.

You can change the privacy settings relating to the facial recognition feature, but it is a little confusing. If you want to disable the feature, go your account privacy settings and click “customize settings” at the bottom of the page. Once in this area, scroll down to a list of options called “things others share,” and then click on the button that says “suggest photos of me to friends.” You will then be given the option to disable the facial recognition feature.

Privacy experts and some Facebook users disagree, saying the company should introduce new products by asking users if they would like to join, rather than automatically signing them up without their knowledge.

Again, click here for Facebook custom privacy settings. Follow the pictures below as direct links don’t work. I also put up shots on how to see what personal data applications have accessed. You’ll be surprised how much, for example, bejeweled accesses.

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