If there’s one word that describes Facebook’s attitude towards its users, it’s ‘sneaky’. They introduce updates without notice, and users often have to opt out if they don’t like a certain feature. But by then it’s usually too late, because Facebook has already gotten its much coveted data. Out of all their ‘sneaky updates’, however, it was the Facial Recognition update that garnered the most criticism.
There have been several user uprisings in the past over Facebook privacy debacles. Usually, Facebook never bats an eye and keeps on trucking. But with the threat of Google+ looming on the horizon, it behooved Facebook to swallow their own pride and make amends before they lose their user base to the competition. It’s a little late, but here’s their solution to their blunder: Facebook ads.
Facebook will be posting ads that, when clicked, will teach users about Facial Recognition – what it means and what it does. Facial recognition, for those who don’t know, is a feature that makes it easier for users to tag the pictures of their friends. Useful, right? Not quite. There are people who value privacy and might not want to be “recognized” at all. The problem is that Facebook hardly gave us a choice – and that, basically, is the root of all the rage regarding the Facial Recognition feature. The ads, in addition to explaining the feature, will link you to a page where you can opt out of the facial recognition software. Once the user opts out, then all data collected through the feature will be deleted.
Facebook maintains that all users will be able to see the ads at least twice. Facebook said that it’s introducing “significant changes”, but from what I see, they’re still using the sneaky ‘opt out’ method. If they were really serious about making amends, then they would require users to opt in instead.
This poor treatment will no doubt come back to bite Facebook in the behind, especially now that Google+ is gathering a big following. If Google+ plays its cards right (so far there is no indication that they will) then it just might eclipse Facebook at some point in the future.
FYI – Below is an article we wrote when the Facial Recognition was first launched that shows you how to opt out of the feature: