Facebook Is Now Using Facial Recognition Technology – Have You Checked Your Privacy Settings Lately?

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The days when you could be “anonymous” on the Internet are long gone.  Social media networks like Facebook are a lot of fun, but you should expect to have absolutely zero privacy while using them.  If you still believe that anything you say or do on Facebook is private than you are being delusional.  Now, Facebook has even enabled facial recognition technology across its entire site.  Facebook can now instantly identify your face out of its half a billion users worldwide.  Facebook is using this technology for its new “Tag Suggestions” feature.  The idea is that facial recognition technology will speed up the process of tagging friends and family in photos that have been posted on Facebook.


That sounds harmless enough, but the problem is that facial recognition technology has been automatically enabled for millions upon millions of Facebook users but they were never even told that the new technology would be automatically enabled on their accounts.


The following excerpt is from the blog post where Facebook officially announced this change…..

Because photos are such an important part of Facebook, we want to be sure you know exactly how tag suggestions work: 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.

So exactly how does this new technology function?

A recent Computerworld article explained exactly how this is going to work….

Facebook noted that starting in just a few weeks, its system will scan all photos posted to Facebook and will offer up the names of the people who appear in the frame. All of Facebook’s users are automatically being added to the database.

The facial recognition feature is automatically turned on. Users who don’t want the service must go in and manually opt out of it

So if anyone has ever posted a picture of you to Facebook, the company can now instantly identify you through the use of facial recognition technology.

That sounds a little creepy, doesn’t it?

Sadly, Facebook doesn’t seem to have much regard for our privacy these days.  Senior technology consultant Graham Cluley had the following to say about this recent change….

“Yet again, it feels like Facebook is eroding the online privacy of its users by stealth”

So what if you don’t want facial recognition technology enabled for your Facebook account?

Well, you have to manually go in and disable it.

The following video explains exactly how to opt out of the new “facial recognition” technology on Facebook….

But let’s not dump all of the blame on Facebook here.  The truth is that Google’s Picasa and Apple’s iPhoto also use facial recognition technology.

These kinds of “Big Brother” technologies are spreading and are becoming a part of the very fabric of the world in which we live.

Every single day a few more shreds of our privacy are stripped away.

Sometimes it is the government that is doing it.  Other times it is corporations that are doing it.

Either way, we are becoming more exposed all the time.

Increasingly, nearly everything that we do is being watched, tracked, traced, monitored, surveilled or controlled in some way.

For much more on how our world is slowly but surely being transformed into a “control grid”, I encourage you to check out some of the previous articles I have done on this topic….

1) “18 Signs That Life In U.S. Public Schools Is Now Essentially Equivalent To Life In U.S. Prisons

2) “32 Signs That The Entire World Is Being Transformed Into A Futuristic Big Brother Prison Grid

3) “Cell Phone Surveillance: Some Cell Phones Record Your Location Hundreds Of Times A Day

4) “10 Examples That Should Convince Anyone That We No Longer Live In The Land Of The Free And The Home Of The Brave

If we do not stand up for privacy now, eventually we will have none left.

If we continue on the road that we are currently on, a day will come when everything we buy, everything we sell and everywhere we go will be very tightly tracked and controlled.

At some point we may have very few decisions left that are truly are own.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to end up living in some bizarre, futuristic version of George Orwell’s “1984”.

The facial recognition technology being used by Facebook is not going to change the world, but it is another small step towards a world where none of us have any privacy left.

So what do all of you think about this change by Facebook?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

  • mike

    This is why I don’t use Facebook, Myspace, or any other social media site, nor is there a single picture of me anywhere online, I never use my real name online (unless I’m buying something), and I also use a private VPN most of the time I’m online. Oh and I don’t use Google without using my VPN either.

    • mondobeyondo

      Not even Twitter? Wow.

      Ha ha… I lived for approximately 35 years before Twitter (or Google, or Facebook, Wikipedia, Yahoo, you name it…) came on the scene. Why would I need those now?

      I still have this really big book that I kept during high school. It’s called a dictionary. Merriam Webster’s to be exact. Yeah I know, I can always go to Dictionary dot com… but… Old habits are hard to break.

    • It’s A Fact!

      I thought there were no pics of me online either, until I recently learned my idiot sister has pics our entire family at her stupid FB site! Names, too! Better check with any “sleeping dumb sheep” friends or family who have ignored your efforts to educate them & wake them up. :-/

  • from europe – DIRT COOKIES 4 Gary

    ok, if you dislike FB just stop using it. do not encourage others to share your articles via FB. do not make an FB account. etc etc.

    stop asking for others to look out for you, just do it yourself.

  • A Dodgy Bloke

    This is one of the many reasons why I am not on Facebook.

  • Guido

    I will not use them. I try to keep my name off the net as much as possible.
    I don’t know why people who might otherwise think twice about sharing their personal information with a stranger face-to-face are willing to divulge their most intimate secrets on a computer. Did anyone here know Russia invested $200 million in Facebook? Know why? Because social networking sites have made spying easier than ever before. Even military and government people, who should know better, have been out there sharing their data, completely oblivious of the threat.

  • mondobeyondo

    FACEbook…. get it??

    Fortunately, for me, my steam powered, hamster driven 3 year old laptop computer does not have a webcam. And I don’t post photos of myself on Facebook.

    I guess I’ll have to stop playing Farmville. *sniff*








    AND FOR HIM ITS HIS FACE BOOK CONVOULUTED Facial Recognition Technology!!



    WHAT ARROGANCE OF THIS ************ MARK Z!!



  • NaeNae

    Thanks so much for sharing this vital information! Next stop, deleting my facebook account! I like what your first poster, Mike, said….keep yourself off line period…big brother is just getting WAY OUT OF CONTROL! Thanks again!

  • Gary

    Have an avatar like I do for this site. I am guessing the cast from Sesame street will be connected to me on face book at worst.

  • Joe Piervincenti

    Cool, but what are you going to do about the “rat” that feels justified to call the police whenever they feel that someone “doesn’t look like…” blah, blah, blah, and has the authorities check you out for doing nothing wrong at all. Like paranoid neighbors or those that feel that they are being “good citizens?” I always said that Bush and Gorbashev exchaged political economies. Now we’re Russia and Russia is America. However, if one is acquainted with history this has been going on in the world all along, it’s just America’s turn now.

  • mondobeyondo

    As a side note…. (yes, I hear you.. “Shut up, Mondobeyondo”…)

    The vast availability of knowledge online, makes your personal knowledge of knowledge, more and more irrelevant.

    The same facts and data that took me years to learn, can now be typed into Google and resourced in less than 15 seconds.

    The very value of knowledge is being compromised by technology. Don’t know the quadratic equation? Do a Google search, and there it is!

    But.. YOU DIDN’T LEARN IT!! You just looked it up.

  • mark jr.

    Um, anyone thought of the fact that this isn’t possible if your computer has no camera on it?

    • Just a mom

      I don’t think it matters. If you put your photos from your camera on your computer (as many people do) then you can upload them to Facebook. I used Facebook for about 2 weeks last year. I get a little paranoid about things so I deleted my account after that 2 weeks. Unfortunately I uploaded pics for my in-laws to see. I wonder if they are in never never land, even though I “deleted” them before I deleted my account.

  • Mattit

    You would be surprised at just how much info is available about you online, whether or not you have ever used Facebook or MySpace. Check out sites like MyLife and Spokeo (think that’s it). Even the info they give for free is surprising. With minimal information, I can find out more about you than you think I can.

    Check out movies like “The Net” (old w/Sandra Bullock) and Eagle Eye (newer) to see just how much of your life is watched.

    We have a choice to live in fear or to live proactively. Yes, FB and other sites have facial recognition…so what. Newer laptops with a built-in cam use it for security recognition (in place of a password). Ultra-high security buildings have been using it for years. Our governments (plural) know more about us than we think we know. Even the newer photo-imaging satellites can tell what book you’re reading while sitting by the pool. I used to have a program that read from a certain set of satellite images that you could zoom in VERY close. I went to access those images about a year later and they no longer existed….and that was about 10 years ago!

    I will end with this: Technology that is not known publicly is far beyond your expectations. The SR-71 was designed in the 50’s, built in the 60’s and made public in the 80’s when one happened to crash. The current B1 “flying wing” bombers had their beginnings in WWII Germany. I just saw an interview with an engineer who designed a tailless plane in the 60’s but never had the money to put it into production. Current public-known robotic technology is a lot older than you think.

    If you want to live your life in fear and be “off the grid”, that’s your choice. However, I choose to live with technology and benefit from it.

  • A.S.

    Facebook can have my secret swiss bank account number if they want. Just in case you missed it, Facebook operators, aka FBI/CIA/other, I am being sarcastic. Or maybe I am not.

    If you want to know how I hid billions of dollars of-shore, you will know how to find me; you already have my home address. Gee, am I confusing you, because you really thought I am dirt poor. Gee, did I get you again? You must really be Forest Gump stupid.

  • Guido

    I don’t understand the social media movement, anyway. I might be different from most people, or at least the younger generation, but I’m not driven to see how many so-called friends I can get online. It all seems so silly and pointless. I don’t mind interacting with people online, such as here, but I don’t need to stroke myself over how many strangers say they’re my friend. Twitter seems even more silly.

  • WillW

    The problem is, Facebook is just a single example – a symptom of a much larger and growing process being socialized into modern America – the complete disregard for and abandonment of individual privacy. Facial recognition is used by a multitude of corporate (and gov) entities and is only one facet of the problem. We are also tracked by cell phones, our purchasing transactions, and so forth. Our personal information is sold to the highest bidder.

    And the worst part is, there is an entire generation that has grown up accepting this and who are not willing to tell these bastards to shove their technology up their *sses.

  • People should worry more about Facebook monitoring everything they talk about online. If big brother ever wanted a central hub to see what people are saying, Facebook is a great place.

    The Elevation Group.

    • It’s A Fact!

      Agree! Being a “budding conspiracy watcher” beginning in 2001 online, I have kept my name off the net except for shopping where you have no choice. However, I made two dumb mistakes early on before I knew the full extent of Big Brother: Classmates.com, another trap (when I “woke up” to that I deleted account but there’s always those databases! so not sure what good it really does to delete accounts after the damage is done) & signing stupid petitions (I signed one in the early 2000’s & found it recently via a search 10 pages back!)

      But for blogging, comments, & everything else, no way would I ever use my own name, ditto Twitter which, imho, is only good for newshounds to zap Headlines & a URL. Never use it for “personal conversation.”

      MySpace, FaceBook, etc.: Gag me, as I can’t stand the whole “social butterfly” concept, so never used either. Then recently I learned my idiot duped sister has our entire freaking family photos & names all over her FB! Arggh! Wilfully ignorant friends/family are loose cannons & could be dangerous in years ahead. A decade of trying to wake them up has been futile, their minds are still in LaLa Land. Sigh!

  • The scarier part is that when you log into Facebook, it then tracks all of the websites you visit.

    It keeps tracking you until you actually log off of Facebook.

    Supposedly this is to enable you the be able to click on “LIKE” button on other websites, but they obviously are using the data for other purposes.

    So when you’re not using Facebook, make sure that you’re logged off.

  • Maah!

    It gives me the creeps to know that persons who are not my well-wishers or the well-wishers of the planet are keeping tabs on me through facebook and other online venues. Its like being stalked by a person you know is a serial killer. On the other hand, the most vocal agents for change in the world have their names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. on facebook, on their websites, knowing well that they risk all in their efforts to wake us up and mobilize us. One cannot be a leader or even a participant and hide at the same time. Everyone has to choose what is more important…being part of the solution or hiding, hoping to avoid it. No guarantee there, either.

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
    ~ Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn”

  • Just a mom

    It is scary, what is going on with all these social networking sites. I have tried to use them to keep in touch with family (who otherwise are to busy to write a note or call apparently) but the stupidity is astounding. I won’t even visit MySpace for in-laws any longer. The whole “Billy Bob bought you a drink” game makes me throw up a little. Such middle school mentality among those that are supposed to be my peers – or parents!

    I have seriously thought about not having the internet. My husband says he doesn’t need it. We will see when I spring it on him that I want to get rid of it in a few months. The internet is a wonderful tool but the reach of the government has made me wary to utilize it.

    • Nick

      I myslef thought of getting rid of my internet but the only thing that gets me keepping it is my college…hard to get my degree online with no internet…once I finish my Masters it’s gone…safer that way and saves me the dough

  • Guido

    You know what? They may be able to track you online, but that doesn’t mean their information is accurate. Have you ever looked at your credit report online? They’re frequently wildly inaccurate, sometimes listing your current address as one from years ago. The same thing with the data mining companies-their data seems even more out of touch. They do invade your privacy, but they’re not reliable.

    You can try to hide, but your chances aren’t very good when state and local officials are happy to put all your data online from gov’t records.

    I think I might have a good solution. Instead of fighting to protect your dwindling privacy and trying to hide data that is already a matter of public record, how about taking a different approach and flooding everyone with false data?

    I’m thinking maybe I’ll start going around the web and planting stories or articles and comments online about myself. I’ll smear my name with every strange accusation and charge and tall tale I can think of. I killed Castro. I kidnapped the Lindbergh Baby. I was the shooter on the grassy knoll. I’m currently wanted by the US Army Field Gendarme Corps for fondling endangered cacti in New Mexico. I invented Agent Orange. I was an Albanian anti-communist guerrilla in 1948 until I was forced to flee Soviet-backed militia, then I retired to Monaco to write my memoirs. I once invented a time machine and concealed it in a DeLorean after duping a bunch of Iranians out of Plutonium with a box of pinball machine parts, then traveled back to the 1950s with some annoying kid. I’ve cured and invented two different cancers. I stole 340 million dollars from the Make-A-Wish foundation. And so on. By the time they get done assembling the mountain of evidence against me, I’ll be worse than Hitler, except for the article I’ll write about how I really AM Hitler…

    • It’s A Fact!

      ditto re state govts putting your personal info online, FLA is one of the worst with their “Sunshine Law.” It’s great when you want to investigate somebody else, but it works both ways, as your own info is plastered on the net, too. Back a few years when FLA began selling everyone’s DMV info, you had to write THEM to Opt Out of them doing that (ie, they put the burden on US while they freely sell our info down the river).

  • john w

    I had never heard of Spokeo, but checked them out after reading about them on this site. They are scary, but I wouldn’t be to worried about them until they get their info collecting system running a bit better – their information about me is almost completely wrong. They have me at my brother’s house, living with his family and with my (30 year old) father who died 35 years ago.
    They also have a second me (female this time) living in the same town but at a friend’s house where I once got mail. I let me niece use my debit card to order some things in my name and have them sent to this address – maybe that is why at this second address I am a female (with a male’s name), and they have the wrong birth date and interests for me.

    If you are a bit careful about how you do things, you can probably screw up these companies fairly easily.

  • byebyeamerica

    I don’t know if this article is true or not. I can say that I am an electrician and we are finishing up the new facebook facility in Prineville Oregon. Many of the cameras installed use facial recognition technology. This was the first project I have had to do calculations on where to put the j-boxes in order that the facial recognition works correctly. If they are using them at their new facility, chances are they are using the technology with web cams. Just thought that it was an interesting article since this is the first install I have done of this type. I was looking for articles about china buying 50 square miles in Idaho for an “economic zone” that I heard about on a christian radio station. Its called project 60 in Idaho. Search “project 60 Idaho” I am hoping its not true. Otherwise we really are screwed. Is China buying parts of America? How can that be legal? God help us. (hopefully this is not real)

    • Guido

      Yeah, they’re a huge data collection racket. And the Russians are in bed with them, which creates the very unique possibility of intelligence services also trying to get into the act, since gov’t and military folks use facebook, too.

      Interestingly, the news just reported Facebook Fatigue is setting in on western nations now. The UK has had over 100K users delete their facebook accounts, citing boredom with the service. Apparently, once they get 50% of the population, the novelty wears off and users dump it. I don’t blame them-it seems like a stupid waste of time to me, anyway. They still have billions of foreigners to chase, though, and competitors in other nations, too.

  • john ford

    thanks tim, lick the comment lalalalala

  • Look, if you are stupid enough to use ‘Facebook’, then you deserve to lose ALL YOUR privacy.

    Facebook– Pied Piper of the New World Order’s technological control grid

  • Patriot7

    Ok, anyone who regularly visits this website obviously hates America. I have one thing to say to that. If you don’t like how things are run in this country, get the hell out. Public schools are NOT the equivalent of prison, and the American dream is very much alive in the hearts and souls of every true patriot. America is a country where you have the chance to build whatever life you want. Whether or not you decide to is your decision also. America is thegreatest country on earth and you should be proud to be a part of such a great legacy of such great men as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and so many others!