Facebook's artificial intelligence-powered face recognition technology can now notify you about untagged photos of yourself uploaded by other users of the platform, the social media giant said Tuesday. The same solution has already been extensively tested by the company for suggesting friends to people to tag in their photos and is now rolling out to users in most parts of the world, save for the European Union and Canada where the firm isn't offering face recognition technologies due to regulatory concerns. The service itself has been in development for the better part of Facebook's existence, with its earliest use case being recorded in 2010. Facebook's solution is entirely two-dimensional in nature and relies on analyzing tagged pixels in order to create a mathematical template of one's face, then cross-references untagged faces against the database of such templates once someone uploads a new photo and separate algorithms determine the image features at least one face that hasn't been attributed to a name.
While the entire affair may evoke some comparisons with social media aspects of a contemporary Orwellian state, Facebook insists the functionality is entirely optional and users can prevent the social media network's service from recognizing them in untagged photos, regardless of whether the service is looking to suggest someone tags them or let them know there's a possible image of them uploaded to the platform. The toggle for enabling and disabling the functionality can be found under the "Help Center" section of one's "Account Settings." As is usually the case with potential privacy-invading features of the world's largest social media service, Facebook's description of the new use cases for its face recognition technology is careful not to imply you can opt out of having your template stored by the service. Instead, you can only prevent the user-facing functionalities stemming from the solution, i.e. avoid being suggested for tags to someone else and not be notified that the platform recognized you in someone else's untagged photograph. If you don't want to be recognized at all, regardless of whether someone outside of Facebook is informed of a positive match or not, your only option is to not use the platform in the first place.
People with fewer privacy concerns about the feature can receive notifications about potential untagged photos of their humble selves going forward. The company said it expanded the service's use cases in order to provide people with more options in regards to how photos of them uploaded by other users are managed. Facebook's face recognition doesn't override one's privacy settings, meaning if there's a photo of you posted by someone with whom you're not friends with and whose account doesn't share images publicly, you won't be notified about the image or be able to see it through other means since you weren't meant to be part of its audience. Refer to the gallery below to see how the functionality should work in practice.