Last year, Facebook made available to users in North America a new technology which is supposed to make it easier for people to be tagged in photos… facial recognition software. When I checked, the feature was available (it was still disabled for many users at that time) so I deactivated it, but this week the feature went live for many Facebook users. Live for many users, without notice.
“What’s the big deal,” you ask? Well, your friends are uploading new pics and albums of photos all the time and what Facebook will now do is recognize that you may be the person in one of those images and suggest to your friend that they tag you in the photo. Problem is that the picture may not be you, or you may not want to be tagged. You can always untag yourself, but that will have to happen after the fact. No need to freak out over the new feature as it is easily disabled by using the following steps:
- Click on “Account” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
- Select “Privacy Settings.”
- Click on “Customize Settings.”
- A little ways down the page where it says on the left, “Things others share” there should be an option to the right which says, “Suggest photos of me to friends; When photos look like me, suggest my name.” Click on “Edit Settings.”
- Choose “Disabled” and then “Ok” and you’re good to go!
A good practice to get in the habit of performing for many parents of young users on Facebook is to encourage them to go through their settings every so often, about once a month, and just look over their privacy settings. It takes a couple minutes to do once you’re familiar with everything and is a great way to ensure that Mr. Zuckerberg doesn’t sneak in any default information/content sharing features you may not want your t(w)een to be a part of unwittingly. This is one of the reasons we always advise parents who allow their children on Facebook to be ever vigilant. Facebook is built around social sharing. That is it’s nature and expecting it, meaning those who’ve created and oversee it, to do anything different at this time is naive. It is your job to protect your children and I wouldn’t rely on anything on the web to do so. No software or internet law is foolproof, and the best software you can develop is the one between your children’s ears!