Facebook Officially Turns Off Facial Recognition Software in Europe

Earlier this week, Facebook turned off its facial recognition feature for all European users and deleted all biometric data it had gathered up to this point. Facebook was ordered last month to turn off its controversial facial recognition software features in Europe by October 15 after a storm of outcry from privacy watchdog groups. Facebook had opted-in all European users last June to the feature without notifying them. The facial recognition software was part of Facebook’s increasingly invasive initiatives to scrounge up ad revenue from its vast reservoir of users.

“The wider issue is not just about people opting-in to use the technology, but how you regulate something when often the person in the photo might not be aware their photo has even been uploaded,” said Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, a privacy advocacy group. “Facial recognition has the potential to undermine people’s privacy far more dramatically than most existing technology, with ever more creative uses finding ways to track us and target us.”

As Facebook continues attempting various monetizing strategies from user data , it’s heartening to see European governments take such a strong stand against the site. Facebook is at a strange crossroad: since going public, there has been increased pressure for revenue generation and profitability. Their challenge lies in developing effective revenue models without severely violating the privacy of its users.

If you don’t live in Europe, then you can’t opt out of this feature. The best you can do is turn it off. Click here for detailed instructions.

Also check out our complete guide on setting your account and privacy settings.

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