Facebook Brings Facial Recognition to Photo Tagging

Facebook Photos, one of the social network’s most popular features, is getting a big and potentially controversial upgrade that automatically suggests whom users should tag in photos based on facial recognition technology.

The new feature, Tag Suggestions, will begin rolling out to U.S. users next week. Tag Suggestions is fairly straightforward. Whenever you’re offered the chance to tag groups of your friends in an album, Facebook will utilize its facial recognition technology to group similar faces together and automatically suggest the friend you should tag them with. As you can see in the screenshot below, Facebook fills in the “Who is this?” box with its suggestion — all you have to do is click the “Save Tags” button to accept.

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according to Facebook Vice President of Product Chris Cox suggestions will only appear when its algorithms have “high confidence” of who’s being suggested. Unlike Face.com, Facebook doesn’t reveal its certainty level and wouldn’t reveal what percentage actually correlates to “high confidence.”

The social giant is also preemptively addressing the potential privacy issues that will be brought up from automatic, algorithmic tagging. Users can opt out of Tag Suggestions by going to their privacy settings and disabling the “Suggest photos of me to friends” feature.

Photos are by far the most engaging content on facebook and by adding this new feature facebook hopes their users will be tagging and uploading more and more photos.