Concerns, Doubts Raised About Facebook Facial Recognition Technology

privacy_eyeMany privacy experts, particularly in European countries, have raised concerns about the potential uses of Facebook’s facial recognition technologies. However, an expert in the technology recently told NPR that he thinks Facebook’s facial recognition abilities are not close to being fully implemented.

“Each time you do a comparison, there’s 5 percent chance that it’s wrong,” said Neeraj Kumar, a computer vision expert at the University of Washington. “And that adds up. In fact, it multiplies up. Very quickly, you find that a 95 percent accuracy leads to pretty terrible results when you’re actually trying to answer the question of, ‘Who is this person?’ ”

However, despite the system’s flaws, there is no doubt that Facebook knows it’s sitting on a potential goldmine of user information. Last year, the site bought, a website whose founders published a paper called “Leveraging Billions of Faces to Overcome Performance Barriers in Unconstrained Facial Recognition.” Despite the current technology’s flaws, it’s clear that facial recognition holds a great untapped promise for any group looking to find individuals online – including the government.

“As we’re seeing specifically over the past few months, no matter how much a company attempts to protect your privacy, if they’re collecting information about you, that information is vulnerable to government search,” said Amie Stepanovich, director of the domestic surveillance project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Every time you tag a photo on Facebook, you’re making it easier to share and connect with your friends. However, you’re also creating a trail of data that facial recognition technology can process. It’s a trade off, and it’s one that has increasingly come to define user experience on Facebook.

If you would like to turn off the Facial Recognition on Facebook, then see our related post:

How to turn off Facebook’s photo recognition software

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