Facebook Rolls Out Facial Recognition Feature

EU worries about privacy violations

Facebook has a new feature that’s either really cool—or kind of creepy. The social network has released a facial recognition feature that "recognizes" Facebook friends for photo tagging, and it’s been automatically turned on as a default setting.

A post on the Facebook blog explained how the new Tag Suggestions feature works: “When you or a friend upload new photos, we use face recognition software—similar to that found in many photo editing tools—to match your new photos to other photos you're tagged in. We group similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos.”

Facebook said that it has been rolling out Tag Suggestions over the past several months, and it’s now available in most countries. The feature will be available to users in the U.S. over the next few weeks. (And if you don’t want Facebook to suggest your name to friends when they tag pictures, the blog post also explains how to turn it off.)

According to Mashable, the new feature hasn’t been going over well with everyone:  European Union data-protection regulators are planning to investigate the new feature, which they consider a potential privacy risk.