Facebook’s photo failure

Facebook continues to erode privacy with facial recognition software.

by Daily Editorial Board

It has happened to everyone: Someone takes a photo of you doing something embarrassing or irresponsible and puts it on Facebook. And the social networking site is about to chip away at usersâÄô online privacy yet again. This time, they want to make keeping undesirable photos of yourself private much more difficult and give the world access to what you donâÄôt want it to see.
Facebook calls its new feature âÄúTag Suggestions.âÄù Recently, the site began using facial recognition technology to prompt users to tag friends in photos the site âÄúrecognizesâÄù them in. This feature has been automatically switched âÄúonâÄù; to turn it off, users must go into their privacy settings, click âÄúcustomize settings,âÄù and edit the settings under âÄúsuggest photos of me to friends.âÄù Users should not have to go through multiple-step processes to opt out of every new privacy-eroding âÄúfeatureâÄù Facebook decides to add. Tag Suggestions is especially troubling because users still donâÄôt have the option to approve themselves being tagged in a photo.
Most people will not stop using Facebook over this. But Facebook knows this, so its officials continuously take advantage of its users. By pushing the limit little by little, as Facebook has done over and over again, they get away with greater and greater violations of user privacy.
Every time, there is a short-lived outcry from the public, things settle down for a while and it happens again. The way Tag Suggestions is set up now is an abuse of Facebook users, many of whom are young and not savvy enough to protect their own privacy rights. Facebook is long overdue to stop mistreating its users and start acting responsibly.