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Facebook will no longer scan user faces by default

Facebook will no longer scan user faces by default

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It will roll out the Face Recognition privacy setting globally over the next several weeks

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facebook is making facial recognition in photos opt-in by default. Starting today, it’s rolling out its Face Recognition privacy setting, which it first introduced in December 2017, to all users. If you have Face Recognition turned on, Facebook will notify you if someone uploads a photo of you, even if you aren’t tagged. You can then tag yourself, stay untagged, or report the photo if it’s something you want taken down. Facebook tells The Verge it expects to complete the rollout over the next several weeks.

If you don’t already have the Face Recognition setting, Facebook says you will get a notice about it in your News Feed and give you the option to turn it on from that notice. Notably, if you don’t make a choice when you see the notice, Face Recognition will not be turned on. Facebook says new users will also have facial recognition left off by default. The new option will be available in the settings menu.

Face Recognition will replace Tag Suggestions, which let you decide whether friends would see a suggestion to tag you in a photo when they uploaded it. The new Face Recognition setting expands upon what Tag Suggestions offered, but it also states more explicitly that facial recognition is being performed on photos uploaded to Facebook.

Facebook has gotten in legal trouble in the past for failing to disclose its facial recognition practices. In August, Facebook lost a federal appeal after courts found the company collected and stored biometric data without user consent. The company could pay billions if it loses the case.

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