Facebook collects a ton of information about us—even the biometric data of our faces. That’s why it was so important in 2017 when Facebook announced users would be able to opt out of the platform’s face recognition through their account settings. However, according to a story from Consumer Reports this week, many users still don’t have this option nearly 18 months later.
Consumer Reports conducted a small study of 31 users, recording video as they navigated their privacy settings. The study found that eight of the accounts were missing face recognition settings entirely — and while that’s a small sample size, Consumer Reports believes that it’s reasonable to infer that “many Facebook users may be affected.”
According to experts, it’s critical for Facebook to straighten out its privacy settings in this area because of the sheer amount of biometric data it handles every day.
Since the company has one of the largest name-face databases in the world and the power to infer significant things about people whom it identifies, it’s especially important that it craft and execute appropriate policies for face recognition,” Evan Selinger, a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, told Consumer Reports. “All users should be able to access the same easy-to-use setting for preventing Facebook from recognizing them in photos and videos, and for deleting their templates.”
Indeed, the fact that some users can control their private data and others cannot is grossly unfair. Here’s hoping this report spurs Facebook to address the problem quickly.
To see if you have this setting available, navigate to your account settings and look for ‘Face Recognition‘ in the left column.
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