So here’s a brief recap of what’s been happening to Facebook’s Auto-tag feature. Facebook had decided some time ago that something needs to be done to the billions of pictures floating around in the social media cloud. Making users tag them manually would be impossible but running facial recognition scripts and then suggesting them to users for verification would be a breeze. And so it was!
While it made tagging everyone infinitely easier, the addition of facial recognition on Facebook raised some eyebrows and some privacy concerns. After complaints about invasion of privacy, Facebook pulled back the feature.
Recently, automatic recognition and tag suggestion made a comeback in the United States. On the other side of the Atlantic however, Europe didn’t take to facial recognition too kindly. Due to stringent privacy policies in Europe, court orders were filed to make Facebook delete all facial recognition data of European users. Facebook had no choice but to comply.
Now, the Irish Data Protection Commission has released a statement saying that the measures taken by Facebook to remove the facial recognition scripts are compliant and satisfy the commitment needed to be shown by Facebook. A German commission based on Hamburg has independently concluded the same result. Facial recognition is now absent from Facebook Europe.
Looks like setting up camp in Ireland was a double-edged sword for Facebook. Although setting up European headquarters means that Facebook doesn’t have to pay income tax for foreign income, it became subject to super strict European privacy laws. After European officials unearthed proof that Facebook has been collecting users’ facial data without express consent as well as data that the users deleted already, immediate and swift action were undertaken to remove these from the Facebook databanks.
As for the United States, facial recognition is still available. For more information about the recently reactivated feature, click here to read the article. Otherwise, you can go ahead and tell us your thoughts about this on the comments section below.