Last month, a US appeals court ruled that a class action lawsuit alleging that Facebook invaded user privacy through its use of facial recognition technology could proceed. And today, Facebook announced that this same facial recognition technology is now being rolled it out to all of its users.
Some Facebook users previously had access to two Facebook face recognition tools. The first of these tools was called “tag suggestions” because it was used to automatically suggest tags of people in photos. The second was called “face recognition” which allowed users to disable face recognition, although it was turned on by default.
From today, Facebook says its “face recognition” settings will be rolled out to all users. New Facebook users and those who previously had the “tag suggestions” tool will be presented with a notice in their News Feed with information about these “face recognition” settings which will be disabled by default.
However, users who already had “face recognition” settings won’t receive a fresh notice. This means that users who were previously opted in to Facebook’s face recognition by default and are unaware of this will still be opted-in going forward. If these users want to turn off face recognition, they’ll have to disable it manually via their Facebook account settings.
The news of this full face recognition rollout comes as Facebook is facing growing scrutiny over its use of this technology. The class action lawsuit from August which claims that Facebook’s facial recognition technology violated user privacy by using this technology without user consent could lead to Facebook being fined billions of dollars.
An investigation from May also revealed that Facebook was preventing some users from turning off face tracking. And the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) recent privacy settlement with Facebook acknowledged that the company had conducted facial recognition tracking on 60 million users without proper consent.