Facebook Is Cleaning Up Its Facial-Recognition Settings and Giving Users a Clearer Picture

Tag suggestions is being phased out

The change will be implemented globally starting Tuesday Facebook

Facebook is phasing out its tag suggestions facial-recognition-powered feature in favor of the face recognition setting it began introducing in December 2017.

The move is most likely a response to July’s Federal Trade Commission complaint tied to Facebook’s record $5 billion privacy settlement with the FTC, which alleged that some 30 million people did not receive sufficient information about their ability to disable the facial-recognition tool that identified people in photos on the social network and offered tag suggestions.

Facebook artificial intelligence applied research lead Srinivas Narayanan said in a Newsroom post Tuesday that current Facebook users who had its tag suggestions setting, as well as new users, will have access to the face recognition setting and receive details on how it works.

The change will be implemented globally starting Tuesday, and the social network’s tag suggestions feature will no longer be available.

Narayanan wrote that people who currently have the tag suggestions setting will see a notice in their News Feed, which will provide information about the face recognition setting including how Facebook uses the technology, along with a button to turn the setting on or off.


He added that people who do not currently have the setting and do nothing will not be subject to face recognition technology recognizing them or suggesting them in photo tags.

Also, the social network’s Photo Review feature will not be activated for those people.

Photo Review lets people know when they appear in photos that they have permission to view based on the poster’s privacy settings, even when they are not tagged.

People can still manually tag friends in photos.

Narayanan wrote, “We’ve continued to engage with privacy experts, academics, regulators and people on Facebook about how we use face recognition and the options you have to control it … Facebook’s face recognition technology still does not recognize you to strangers. We don’t share your face recognition information with third parties. We also don’t sell our technology.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.