Facial Recognition Missing in Facebook Moments for Europe

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Facebook debuted their private photo-sharing app last year, which they dubbed as 'Facebook Moments'. The service is about what you'd expect from Facebook, with it being a way to store all of your photos without needing to share them publicly. And the company used facial recognition to combine photos of friends together. However, that feature is missing in the expansion to Canada and Europe, which the company announced this week. You'll still be able to group pictures of the same person together in the app, but it's not as simple as it normally would be with facial recognition.

The reason for Facebook omitting that feature in Europe and Canada is likely due to their legal battle that they are currently a part of. In Illinois, a judge ruled that Facebook unlawfully stored geometric representations of user's faces, which were then used to create a faceprint for individual users. These faceprints are what is used when Facebook suggest tags for certain friends or other Facebook users in photos. With the EU going after Google pretty strong right now, it looks like Facebook wanted to avoid any unnecessary attention with Facebook Moments. We could even see this feature go away in the US, depending on what happens in this case with the social network in Illinois.

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While Facebook Moments in Canada and Europe do not use facial recognition, the service does still group together photos that "appear to include the same face" so you can tag the same person in every photo they appear in, all at once. The service will ask you "Who's this?" and that's where you are able to tag the appropriate person in that photo. After the initial set of tagging, Facebook can gain a better of idea of who the person is, and automatically add future pictures to the appropriate group. This is called object recognition, it's a step down from facial recognition.

Like Google Photos, Facebook Moments allows you to store all of your photos right there in the app. But they aren't public. You can choose to share them with other users or just leave them in the Facebook Moments app. Facebook launched Facebook Moments in June of 2015, and replaced photo sync with the service in December of 2015.