Posted by: kurtsh | August 11, 2011

HOWTO: Prevent Facebook from suggesting your friends tag you in their photos using facial recognition

Sigh.  It turns out that Facebook will, by default, recognize your photo in other people’s photos and suggest that they tag you with your real name.

In other words:  If a friend has a photo with your picture in it, Facebook will automatically identify you by placing a square around your face based on other places you’ve been tagged, using facial recognition, and autosuggest that your friend tag you in the photo.  And as you get tagged more and more, the richer the photo recognition gets.  It’s self-perpetuating.

This is enabled by default and while I like Facebook as much as the next person I ain’t wild about this for variety of reasons.   Carnegie Mellon University did a study that concluded that this kind of technology used with Facebook can potentially end anonymity altogether.  Their comment about Facebook and privacy was telling:

Facebook also integrated facial-recognition technology into the social-networking platform to auto-suggest users to be tagged in photos. As all things privacy-related in Facebook, all users were included in the recognition database by default.

So… what do you do to prevent this?

TO DISABLE AUTORECOGNITION OF YOUR FACE IN OTHERS PHOTOS:

  • Login to Facebook.
  • Click the “Account” dropdown and select “Privacy Preferences”.

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  • Scroll to the bottom & click “Customize Settings” hyperlink.

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  • Scroll down to “Things others share” and click on the “Edit Settings” button next to “Suggest photos of me to friends”.
    A dialog box will appear.

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  • Look under “Suggest photos of me to friends” and ensure that the dropdown box is set to “Disabled”.

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  • Click “Okay” button.  That’s it.

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