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Facial recognition on Facebook – Turn it off!


If we have a gripe with Facebook, it is the fact that whenever a new feature is released, it seems that the executive decision makers assume we all want the feature turned on by default…. and not tell us either by a private message, or post at log in… after all, they have the skills to do this. Why do we need to find out about these features though the media?

Facial recognition is one of these features. so here are some tips to better manage your ue of this feature.

In late 2010, Facebook began rolling out a feature called “Tag Suggestions that prompts users if the Facebook systems recognise things about items you are posting. There is much press on how difficult Facebook privacy is to configure properly. This feature is no different, and for some people, it is essential that you turn this feature off. We also recommend that parents turn the feature off on their children’s profile.

In keeping with the theme on miFamily, we will keep posting  tips on setting up your privacy on Facebook. On the right is the default setting that we recommend – you should customise your settings and be familiar with all options. You should revisit them regularly to see what may have been enabled without your direct knowledge. Our main recommendation here is for Friends only (Picture to the right).

Facebook: Privacy Settings image

Facebook privacy settings

We mentioned before that Tag Suggestions is ‘on’ by default. This is a real problem… we have spoken to a number of law enforcement officers, and security experts who have expressed great concern about this. People can be identified, or tagged without their knowledge.
There are two main areas of concern:

  • If a child has blocked a bully from seeing them on Facebook, by only ‘unfriending’ them, then is may be possible for another friend to accidentally give the bully access back to the victim.
  • Imagine a person in a protection programme. If you entered Facebook, under your new identity, and the nasty person were to upload a photo of you, then the Facebook software would then possibly identify the protected person.

These are bad things, and why we recommend turning this feature off.The only saving grace here is that the software works best with high-resolution photos. Many users upload pictures from their mobiles, so for now, the resolution is not too good, however with new phones already being designed with 10 mega pixel cameras, it will only be a matter of time until higher resolutions become more common.
Now, how to turn the feature off :

Facebook System menu

Facebook Account and System menu

  • On the top left of your facebook page, there is a little triangle, that expands to show to main account menu.
  • Drop down the tab in the header of your Facebook page, and select Privacy settings (the link we had was http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy&ref=mb )
  • Then look towards the bottom of the page and you will see the words How Tags Work and an edit settings link – click on this link.
  • This will pop up a window that looks like the one on the right.
  • Tag suggestions should be off.

    Tag settings

  • Click on OK, and the setting is now off.

You may get a message checking that you are sure that you want to do this – the answer is YES.

Please remember to like this article if you found it useful, and if you wish to stay connected please like the mifamily.net facebook page if you haven’t already

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