Facebook is coming under fire for a feature that uses facial recognition software to allow members to tag pictures of their friends on the social network.
The “Tag Suggestions” feature debuted in the United States six month ago but has drawn renewed attention this week after the social network began rolling it out to other countries.
Tag Suggestions uses facial recognition software to match newly uploaded photos to photos that have been tagged elsewhere and suggests the name of the friend in the photo for tagging.
A member of the US House of Representatives objected on Wednesday to the opt-in nature of the photo tagging feature on Facebook, which has been forced to weather a number of privacy storms over the past few years.
“Facebook does not give you any right to pre-approve tags,” Cluley said. “Instead the onus is on you to untag yourself in any photo a friend has tagged you in.”
“Many people feel distinctly uncomfortable about a site like Facebook learning what they look like, and using that information without their permission,” he continued.
“The onus should not be on Facebook users having to ‘opt-out’ of the facial recognition feature, but instead on users having to ‘opt-in,’ Cluley said.
“Requiring users to disable this feature after they’ve already been included by Facebook is no substitute for an opt-in process,” said Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts.
“If this new feature is as useful as Facebook claims, it should be able to stand on its own, without an automatic sign-up that changes users’ privacy settings without their permission,” Markey said in a statement.