Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

Summary: Facebook recently rolled out a new facial recognition feature for its Photos app. Like many new Facebook features, this one has stirred up controversy immediately.

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Facebook recently rolled out a new facial recognition feature for its Photos app. Like many new Facebook features, this one has stirred up controversy immediately.

Initially, the feature asks Facebook users to match faces and friends, after which Facebook should automatically remember those features and tag users in groups far quicker. Of course, that isn't foolproof. It also has a lot of people talking about privacy standards on Facebook again - to the point where European Union data-protection regulators have launched an official probe to see if this has broken any laws.

While it probably hasn't (at least stateside), it certainly has tongues wagging about whether or not this invades privacy further. Personally, I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. My first instinct and action was to disable the service, which seems to be the pattern with almost any new Facebook feature these days. Users really should be allowed to opt-in to services and see how they work before being thrown into them head first. (Literally this time.)

Facebook isn't the first photo application to come up with the idea of face recognition with tag suggestions anyway. Both Apple's iPhoto and Google's Picasa photo-editing software programs include this function, which comes in handy when sorting through massive libraries of photos. However, these apps don't upload the results so they're just kept private to the computer owner.

Nevertheless, there are some arguments for and against having such a feature available on Facebook:

PROS:

  • Tagging multiple photos of the same people is far easier
  • Saves time and energy when tagging photos
  • Only friends can tag other friends in photos

CONS:

  • Photos of you that you might not want tagged will be
  • Photos not of you might get tagged as you accidentally
  • Even more people you don't want seeing photos of you could have access to them
  • It's just another way to waste time on Facebook instead of doing something more productive

The last point is the most subjective, but it's definitely true to some extent. How do you feel about Facebook's face recognition feature for photos? Should it stay or go? Or does it even matter?

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Topic: Social Enterprise

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20 comments
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  • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

    I just feel it should be much easier (and more obvious) to opt in and out of facebook features. Many people have no concept of what facebook does and just accept defaults and that is a recipe for future disaster. Given the size of the user base "complete ignorance" should be the assumed standard of perception to new features. Most software that makes changes advertises it with some kind of pop up or intro message - facebook just seem to implement and wait to see if people like it or not. Photo tagging is a great feature but if people get scared because of sudded changes then they will opt out altogether.
    cymru999
  • Facebook -- the most massive intelligence gathering DB

    Just an observation that is mostly not said too loudly:
    Facebook is the most massive database of people on the planet. -- Now with face recognition.

    It's a database of relationships, social connections, comments, pictures of people and where they've been, what they said & done on other websites (when using FB login), communications, personalities, what their favorite games are, past history, teen-childhood, etc...

    My gosh, that's alot of power.

    And for most people, it's just la-di-da-di-da...
    voltrarian
    • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

      @voltrarian
      Amen brother!
      Gr8Music
      • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

        Well FB should change it's name to FBI as I stand for Intrusion as FBI can do anyway in any ones life and privacy.
        vigya@...
  • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

    The only reason for uproar as stated is the no notification and default opt out setting.

    Why can't they add a pop up stating the new feature is available, what it does, and a disable/enable button? Simple and most are happy.
    mike2k
  • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

    All of the "CONS" you list are either marginal or bogus. This feature does not tag photos automatically. It suggests tags to the person inserting the photograph. It is up to that person (who has to be a first level friend of you) to apply the tag.

    Admittedly, the feature makes it easier to tag photos, so, if you never want a photo tag of yourself, you should turn this off. But, if you are that paranoid, you should probably not be on FB in the first place.

    As to FB's policy of not letting people know what's going to happen before it does, that sucks. As well as their opt-out policy on most things.
    hornerea
    • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

      @hornerea

      But of course FB accounts have never been hijacked, personal data has never been stolen and FB would never, ever do anything evil.
      jlongino@...
      • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

        @jlongino@... But of course, my original comment stands. If you are worried about it. DON'T USE FACEBOOK.
        hornerea
      • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

        @hornerea@... No it doesn't. What if I don't have a facebook account and my friends and relatives are posting pictures that I happen to be in? What if they are labeled wrong? What if I upload pictures and label them as me but they're not? Relying on humans to get anything half-way right is absurd.
        gitwut
  • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

    Um, the outrage is, as usual, that they automatically opt you in, instead of defaulting it off, and letting you choose.

    Kill your facebooks people, move on to the real world.
    Droid101
  • Well at least you know about all those random pics ur in

    Well at least you know about all those random pics ur in,
    from some else album, that you can then report.
    wesley.olis@...
  • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

    Aside from the massive information gathering (and who might have access/use it) that this just adds to, the big issue is Facebook's continued opt out policy for every change. Some people just want to interact with a tight circle of friends. and some of those same people may be hiding from stalkers, abusive exes, etc. Having to be on guard all the time for Facebook's latest attempt to make them public is annoying and sometimes dangerous.

    Facebook *could* create a default opt-in/out choice for users and let users set that. This would allow those who want new features automatically turned on to be opted in and those who don't want to be automatically turned on to be opted out. I would even be ok if the default choice for that feature was opt-in. At least then, I'd only have to opt out once.
    sullivanjc
  • FaceBook

    Just say no!!
    wizardb@...
  • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

    A few big corporations holding all of our information is just plain dangerous. A breach (or leak) of this data can be pretty bad! Users need to be in control of their data!


    Privachi (www.privachi.net), a privacy-centric social network, gives users the benefits of a social network while letting them own their social information. On Privachi, messages that a user posts are ?locked? in such a way that even Privachi servers can?t unlock them, only the user?s friends can. In addition, user updates, photos, and videos are stored in locations that the user chooses (even locations outside Privachi servers, if the users chooses them) ?to prevent any one service from knowing everything about the user. Photos, videos, or comments deleted by a user are truly erased since they are stored in the user specified location such as the user?s box.net or dropbox account. We hope Privachi provides a fun social network for users while helping them protect themselves from social profiling and putting them back in control of their social data.
    privachi
  • VERY VERY bad for Children using the service

    There are many kids (many under 13) using face book. They often tag themselves. This is not good because they do not know whos checking them out. To use this info to either automatically tag or encourage more tagging makes life easier for preditors. Parental concent is required by youth orginisations if the wish to publish a photo of a young person (UK and Ireland). How does/can facebook get parental consent. It they dont need it and they pose the largest risk that youth are exposed to why burden the rest of us with it. Facebook need to be made comply with child protection principles.
    tomgormley
  • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

    There seems to be some misinformation: It doesn't just tag you in some random person's album. It works more or less the same way that tagging does, except now it suggest things to you. And you have the option to skip when tagging, so what's the issue again?
    I think it's misinformation that's the REAL privacy issue.
    jetsethi
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery

    Windows Live Photo Gallery has a facial recognition feauture that works really well. It also allows you to upload albums directly to Facebook with the tags you've made.
    KAYN3
  • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

    First I thought it was a dangerous thing and big privacy issue, but then I saw this article at http://brandedalive.com that claims they invented the most dangerous app in the world which apparently uses your profile photos and turns them into 5 second videos of God-Knows-What. I think face manipulation has gone out of hand.
    EdwardSamara
  • Facebook user features in general

    I'd like to get your feedback about a page I've created, about the good and bad features of Facebook and how they should fix it: http://billdietrich.byethost8.com/Facebook.html Thanks.
    ALISON SMOCK
  • RE: Facebook photo tag suggestions: What's so bad about them anyway?

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