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Facebook trials controversial facial recognition technology

Facebook has begun testing facial recognition despite concerns and criticism from the Government and citizens.

By April Slattery

Facebook begins trials on facial recognition technology, despite the concerns and criticism it has faced in the last year.

The use of facial recognition by the social media site was first announced in December last year, which will allow users to locate photos they have not been ‘tagged’ in and be alerted of this. Facebook has said the aim of the technology is to alert users when another individual is using their profile, ‘catfishing’ them.

In addition to the safety aspect of the technology, it will also benefit Facebook users with visual impairments. The biometric technology will look to help by describing photos.

The feature will be implemented to users’ accounts in May, as the GDPR regulation comes into force. Users do not have to utilise the feature, it is optional to have it turned on or off. Many users have had notifications from Facebook, alerting them of the feature that will soon be added to the site.

Facebook trials controversial facial recognition technology

The technology can help users find photos they are in, that is not them.

Facebook’s notification said: “We’re always working to make Facebook better, so we’re adding more ways to use face recognition besides just suggesting tags. You control face recognition. This setting is on, but you can turn it off at any time, which applies to features we may add later.”

By giving users the ability to toggle the feature on and off will seemingly bring more positive reactions to the feature being added. The UK Government caused quite a stir over biometric technology as it was thought to be inaccurate at times and some residents were not happy their data was stored for that purpose.

The social media site has vowed the feature will enable better security for users, by stopping strangers using photos that are not theirs. In addition to helping users identify themselves in photos not tagging them, the facial recognition feature will also help better protect children. The feature enables parents to find and delete images featuring their children, to reduce the number of online bullies or sexual harassment behaviour.

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Facial recognition technology is already available across other countries, but some countries in the EU including the UK have banned the biometrics system. There is currently not definitive date as to when UK and EU users will see the feature come into force, but Facebook has confirmed a roll out worldwide is definitely on the cards.

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