Facebook’s new facial recognition feature: What parents need to know
Tag, you’re it! Facebook’s photo sharing is getting a facelift.
If you’ve ever uploaded a photo to your Facebook page, you’re surely familiar with “tagging” someone – notifying a friend that she’s in a pic you posted. And our kids do it all the time – using digital cameras, camcorders and cell phones -- to brag about a winning shot, share a goofy face, or in my kids’ case, uploading embarrassing moments of their siblings.
Facebook just introduced a controversial new upgrade to its photo tagging system called Tag Suggestions. It now suggests who to tag based on facial recognition technology that groups similar-looking friends together. Facebook’s vice president of product Chris Cox recently noted in an article on Mashable that suggestions will only appear when its algorithms have “high confidence” of who’s being suggested.
"When you or a friend upload new photos, we use face recognition software -- similar to that found in many photo editing tools -- to match your new photos to other photos you're tagged in," Facebook explained in a recent blog post. "We group similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos."
Fortune magazine recently wrote that Facebook facial recognition isn't a big deal for user privacy, but we suggest that both parents and teens should keep a close eye on what photos have been tagged as them.
What if a questionable picture is posted with a suggested tag of our teen without him actually being in the picture? Now his name is associated with the bad behavior in the photo. This could happen from kids being malicious online, even cyber bullying, or from simple tagging error.
Facebook is addressing the potential privacy issues by allowing users to opt out of Tag Suggestions by going to their privacy settings and disabling the “suggest photos of me to friends” feature.
Privacy issues are not rare to Facebook. Google keywords already pick up a lot of what our kids (and we) are saying. “I hate Facebook so much!” commented a teen after the Mashable article. “Every page and wall post I've ever done is now on Google. Even with the highest possible privacy settings on. I am only 15. When I look for a job, I can only imagine how job recruiters will see everything I have ever posted.” Something all our kids need to realize regarding the impact Facebook posts could have on their online reputation.
Mashable says in that same article, “By vastly simplifying the tagging process, Facebook expects that its millions of users will tag more photos, which will create millions of new engagement points and social connections, making it that much more addicting.”
Using SafetyWeb, parents can monitor kids’ online activities on social networks, including photos in which your child’s name is mentioned via tagging, or photos uploaded to social networks by your child. And voila. You’re back in charge.
So, yeah, the web keeps getting smarter and more sophisticated. Which means we parents have to stay on our toes to know how to protect our kids. SafetyWeb is that safety net. Sign up today.
Staci Perkins is a mom of four. She is friends with her kids on Facebook and is a SafetyWeb subscriber. Follow her on Twitter @Perkista.
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