Facebook facial recognition now worldwide

Update slips by almost unnoticed, gets called out by security firm.

Formerly US-only "tag suggestions" service rolling out worldwide.

Facebook users in the US have had the company's facial recognition technology since December last year, but Facebook have just confirmed that the tech has rolled out to the rest of the world now, too.

The software scans photos uploaded to Facebook and stores information on which faces are tagged with which names. The idea is to let Facebook then suggest users' names as tags in photos, rather than the uploader having to tag each person in a photo one at a time.

As per usual with any story which can connect the words "Facebook" and "privacy", Zuckerberg et al. came under fire for failing to announce the update when it was made, with web security firm Sophos the first to break the news that Facebook was now storing facial recognition data on users outside of the US.

Facebook have responded on their blog, saying that "While tags are an essential tool for sharing important moments, many of you have said tagging photos can be a chore. (Like that time you had to tag your cousin and her fiancé over and over and over again in 64 different pictures of their engagement party, and then go back and tag the guests.)"

So, nothing outwardly nefarious going on, but those Facebook conspiracy theorists still convinced something shady's going on will have the option to opt out of the tag suggestions service in their Facebook settings.

Via: The Financial Times