Under the looming threat of more privacy-related regulations, Facebook says it's giving users greater control over one of its more invasive practices.
Effective immediately, the tech titan is making facial recognition opt-in, by default.
As such, people who newly join Facebook or who previously had the “tag suggestions” setting will now have the “face recognition” setting.
The latter setting -- which Facebook began testing in late 2017 -- provides a simple on/off switch for a broader set of uses of face recognition.
If users turn on the face-recognition setting, for example, they should get an alert when anyone uploads a photo of them, with or without a tag.
Users then have the option of tagging themselves in the photo, remaining untagged, or reporting unwanted pictures of themselves.
Additionally, the old tag suggestions setting -- which controls whether Facebook can suggest that a user's friends tag them in photos or videos using face recognition -- will no longer be available.
Along with announcing the changes, Srinivas Narayanan, applied research lead at Facebook AI, emphasized the importance of privacy-related matters.
“We’ve continued to engage with privacy experts, academics, regulators and people on Facebook about how we use face recognition and the options you have to control it,” Narayanan said in a post.
User privacy became a pricey problem for Facebook when the Federal Trade Commission recently voted to fine the company $5 billion for running afoul of its consumer-privacy rules.
To try to show its flexibility around the matter of privacy, Facebook recently began moving ahead with plans to let some users detach their accounts from their app and Web histories.The move came more than a year after Facebook teased a Clear History feature, which it promised would let users block the company from correlating data collected throughout the web -- via its “like” button -- with their accounts.