Facebook's facial recognition works by analyzing the pixels in a photo you're tagged in and creating a string of numbers called a template to identify your face.
In the near future, Facebook also plans to use face-recognition technology to notify you when someone else posts your image as their profile photo. Facebook users in Canada and the European Union are excluded. "Powered by the same technology we've used to suggest friends you may want to tag in photos or videos, these new features help you find photos that you're not tagged in and help you detect when others might be attempting to use your image as their profile picture", Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, director of applied machine learning at Facebook, said in a blog post.
The feature likely won't be as annoying as described above, as Facebook's announcement post claims it only notifies you if "you're in a photo and part of the audience for that post", which presumably means if it was taken by a friend or a friend of a friend. If you've already opted out of that feature, you will also be automatically opted out of the new facial recognition features.
Twitter begins enforcing new anti-hate speech rules
British Minister of State for Digital Matthew Hancock tweeted that the account suspensions were a "good step forward" for Twitter. Some of the changes include permanently suspending accounts affiliated with groups that use violence to advance their cause.
And that, in turn, means Facebook has a new powerful tool for mapping who knows who on the social network. The objective of the scanning, according to Facebook, is to alert you if someone has publicly uploaded a photo of you that you don't know about, especially if they are trying to impersonate you. Thanks to the technology, people that use screen readers will know who appears in photos that show up in their News Feed, even if people aren't tagged.
"The words "face recognition" can make some people feel uneasy, conjuring dystopian scenes from science fiction", wrote Rob Sherman, Facebook's deputy chief privacy officer. Facebook has a long, very unfortunate history of keeping what you delete and making getting it off Facebook as hard as humanly possible. The site will now recognize new accounts made by people you have blocked and prevent the new account from sending you friend requests or messages. However, he argued against strict regulation of facial recognition technology, comparing current fears to similar concerns in the late 1800s over cameras.
Facebook will also allow users to ignore a conversation in Messenger and move it out of your inbox without having to block the sender.