What Facebook's new photo tagging system means for your privacy

Facebook was back in the news this week when it was revealed the world’s largest social networking site was testing out new facial recognition software in its photo tagging system. New software will automatically scan each photo and detect faces in it. Under the old process, users had to click on a face in the picture, the type in which user on their friends list was in the photograph. Under the new system, Facebook’s uploader will automatically recognize the face in the picture. All the user has to do is type in a name and be done. While this may not seem like a huge deal, it does serve as a good reminder to make sure your picture settings on Facebook are set to ensure your privacy. Some tips on photo privacy:

1. Make sure you know what is in every photo album you upload, and set each albums privacy settings accordingly. You are able to set each album’s privacy setting from a wide range of choices from “everyone” (and they mean EVERYONE on the internet) to “only me”. Make sure you know what’s in each album, and set each one at a privacy setting you’re comfortable with.

2. Know that the settings for albums you upload and photos of you that others upload are different. You might think you’re being responsible and safe by setting your albums to “friends only”, but it will make no difference if your friends can upload photos of you that everyone can see. Make sure you change your “photos tagged of you” settings as well.

3. Think long and hard about these settings. Sure, you might want your pictures of your party hearty, booze filled weekend in Vegas to be visible to everyone so they can see how much fun you had, but keep in mind that unless it’s set to friends only, you might not know who’s looking at it. The number of people included in “friends of friends” is HUGE, and you might not want some of those people to see you looking a hot mess, or engaging in unsavory activities. Would you want your future boss to see those pictures? Your grandma? Your child’s babysitter? If not, consider setting more strict privacy settings on your photographs.

Check out a screenshot of Facebook’s new photo uploader here:

And a step by step screenshot of how to change photo privacy settings here:


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