We're hiring

We love digital - Call
03332 207 677
and say hello - Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm

Call 03332 207 677

Stephen Logan

Is Facebook’s Facial Recognition an Invasion of Privacy Too Far?

9th Jun 2011 Social Media, Facebook, News, Industry News 2 minutes to read

If you type the words ‘Facebook’ and ‘Privacy’ into Google, you will get around 4.1 billion results (even in quotations it is still 1.8 million). This probably tells you all you need to know about how often the social networking giant runs into issues over user data.

The latest hoo-ha surrounds a brand new piece of technology, integrated within the picture upload section, which automatically tags people based on facial recognition. Great if you can’t be bothered to sift through all your contacts to tag them individually; not so useful if you’re worried about Facebook becoming a little too friendly with you and your data.

The issue Facebook has is that they have previous when it comes to privacy lapses. Stories about data being stolen are in the news on a near weekly basis. However, this is just one of the inevitable drawbacks of managing the very public profiles of over 600 million users throughout the world. To an extent, data has to be mined. It helps their advertising and helps to expand its user numbers and services.

This level of reporting invariably leads to a higher level of scrutiny. Therefore when Facebook decides to roll out a new system which, at least on the face of it (excusing the pun), looks to save users time and link more profiles, a backlash is inevitable.

In fact Sophos has gone as far as to say that it is ‘eroding the online privacy of its users by stealth’, pretty damning stuff. This is by no means the only comment questioning the ethics of such a system, in fact it has sparked widespread condemnation from many sources. What perhaps makes this surprising is the fact that it is something of a delayed reaction, especially as this feature was rolled out last year in the US.  Below are just a few of the recent posts:

Facebook sorry over face tagging launch – BBC
Facebook facial recognition system criticised – Telegraph
Facebook now knows what you look like as it rolls out face recognition by stealth – Daily Mail

Privacy on Facebook tends to have a polarising effect. There will always be a large group that claim our information is susceptible to exploitation and attack due to the flimsy defences offered by the social network. Others though will always suggest that if you choose to add personal information, pictures and otherwise private data to a public domain, you have to accept the risks that come with it.

Is facial recognition just an easier way to spy on the world, or is it just about making a mundane task a little quicker? I don’t think that it’s Skynet quite yet, but it’s certainly interesting to see how something that can be viewed as entirely inconsequential by some can also be given the greatest significance by others.

If you are worried about being tagged, Search Engine Watch has rolled out a pretty decent guide to disabling Facebook recognition.

Share this post

Free Whitepaper Facebook Guide: Creating, Optimising, Advertising & Analysing

What do you think?

  • aspect-ratio answer-the-public-blog-feature-image
    Lola Michels

    How To Use ‘Answer The Public’ In Your Content Strategy

    A generally accepted fact in the world of Content Marketing is that being useful is one of the main criteria for achieving results with a content campaign.

    But how do you find out which questions your audience needs answers to?

    At Koozai, one of our starting points tends to be Answer the Public. (more…)

    Lola Michels
    25th May 2018
    Content Marketing
  • aspect-ratio traditional-vs-digital-pr-blog
    Vicky Taylor

    What Is The Difference Between Digital PR And Traditional PR?

    Digital public relations (digital PR) can be an effective way to increase brand visibility and drive more quality traffic to your website or landing page. But just what is digital PR and how does it differ from traditional PR techniques? Here’s an overview of the differences (and similarities). (more…)

    Vicky Taylor
    @vicky_taylor
    8th May 2018
    Digital PR

Digital Ideas Monthly

Sign up now and get our free monthly email. It’s filled with our favourite pieces of the news from the industry, SEO, PPC, Social Media and more. And, don’t forget - it’s free, so why haven’t you signed up already?
  • We’ve got some really cool stuff we want to share with you. So you don’t miss out, let us know which of the following you want us to email you about going forward:
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.