Unlike Wikileaks, Facebook is not a website that sets out to find controversy. However, by looking at headlines over a given span of time, one may easily come to a different conclusion as Facebook seems to find itself at the center of unwanted attention quite a bit. Now, closing out 2010, another Facebook controversy is brewing over the website’s latest photo tool.
Recently, Facebook unveiled a new face recognition feature that analyzes the facial structure of people in photos you’ve tagged and seeks to match up names to photos so that you don’t have to tag the names to photos manually each time you upload. In addition, the facial recognition/tagging program can also suggest photos of you to your “friends,” which is a cause for concern for some people because Facebook can automatically recognize and tag you in pictures, some of which may not be so flattering to your image. Examples: drunken behavior at a party, compromising photos of you and your ex, or how about you doing things that could be considered illegal and/or immoral?
Obviously, such artificial intelligence and automatic tagging of you in pictures is more than enough to make some people uncomfortable. For anyone who does not like the idea of being automatically tagged, you can disable the feature in your privacy settings in your account, which means that your “friends” will have to tag you manually in their photo albums.
My advice? If you appear in a picture you wouldn’t want your parents, boss, or significant other to see, that image is best left on your computer hard drive. Once a picture is online, there’s virtually nothing that can be done to stop it from spreading all over the Worldwide Web should someone decide to start passing it around for all to see.
In the end, though, this new Facebook feature goes to show just now smart computers are becoming. Obviously, with around 300 million users (and far more pictures), Facebook has a lot of images to scan, collect data on, tag, and then suggest to other users. As an interesting point to ponder, 10 years ago in the waning days of 2000, email was the only means of electronic communication as social networking websites like Facebook, Myspace, and the whole host of others weren’t even thought of at the time. Now, looking at how things progressed in 10 years, it will be interesting to see just what we can do online come the final days of 2020.
For more info:
PC Authority (with link to Facebook page explaining the auto tagging)
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