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Facebook face recognition – invasion of privacy?

Annie Wakefield
Digital Marketing Manager
13 June 2011

The first social network I ever joined was Hi5. I don’t really know why I started using it but to be honest I only used it for a year or less. However, a few months ago I realised that when I searched for my name in Google images some of the photos I uploaded on Hi5 appeared on the SERPs. I found this really annoying so I cancelled my Hi5 account. I now see only one of those pictures, which I hope will soon disappear from the SERPs.

As a social media ‘newbie’ I was very ‘innocent’ and didn’t think about privacy issues – it wasn’t as much of a hot topic ‘pre- Facebook’ era. I’ve since tightened my Facebook settings so photos uploaded onto it won’t show up in a public search.

I recently read about Facebook’s intention to launch face recognition technology and I feel a bit worried of what the online social networking future will bring to all the ‘innocent’ people that are using social networks to stay in touch with their friends around the world.

I’ve read articles and blogs about the face recognition technology and found that even people who have nothing to hide are worried of where this feature might lead to in the future. Some of them are absolutely negative saying that there is a constant privacy violation by Facebook because they make it impossible for users to keep track of all the changes and react accordingly. Some others are just sceptical and will wait to see what the official authorities’ investigation of the matter will bring into light.

It concerns me (and many others) that Facebook has made this a default feature. They’re not giving users the choice to opt-out. Why didn’t they make it a just opt-in service? That makes me think that the long term goal of this feature is to be used for marketing purposes and not for providing a better service for users. It is widely known that opt-out rather than opt-in is one of marketers’ sneaky practices that takes advantage of ‘innocent’ or careless people.



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