Facebook has disabled its Tag Suggest facial recognition feature for all new users in the European Union (EU) as part of efforts to comply with stringent privacy recommendations made by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC). The social network plans to delete all Tag Suggest information and disable the feature for existing EU users by October 15th at the latest. The news comes as the DPC publishes a lengthy report on a re-audit of the company, which has its European headquarters in Dublin. The report is broadly positive, and the decision to disable Tag Suggest appears to have played a major role in assuaging the concerns of the Commissioner's office.
The DPC first began investigating Facebook after lobbying from a pressure group known as Europe vs. Facebook — its initial audit was completed in December last year, less than a month after the company's landmark settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission saw it agree to 20 years of privacy checks. While today's report brings Facebook one step closer to peace with European regulators, the social network is still under investigation by the office of Johannes Caspar, the commissioner for data protection and freedom of information in Hamburg, Germany.