Facebooks facial recognition - what has it to do with sharing, connections and being open?


Image from UnderLogic

Facebook revamped its photo services by adding “Tag Suggestions”, a facial recognition feature which scans faces in your photos and offers up suggestions of who they are from your list of friends. Even though it is being tested with a small, undisclosed group of users, Tag Suggestions will roll out soon. One practical result is that is  that it is more likely that Facebook friends will tag you in photos and made it easier for friends to tag a large number of photos of you at once.

Some find the notion of facial recognition “creepy” as it conjures ideals of Minority Report, terrorist watch lists and generally “big brother.” But don’t worry as the EU privacy regulators have said that they will investigate the Facebook facial recognition move and U.S. privacy watchdog group EPIC said it was considering an FTC complaint. To address user concerns, the social network will also introduce a privacy setting that allows you to opt out of Tag Suggestions – but I am sure that it should have been opt-in given all the previous problems

So what?

Is this new feature really about sharing, being more open or having more connections?  Is the motivation that this data give more details about influence and more access to marketing? Whilst I personally don’t have an issue with facial recognition programs and use one; it is not about sharing or being open.  Given that “Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” this feature sits in the open bucket, but not everyone wants open and I did not actually sign up to Facebook with the intention of having algorithms scan my photo (Good article on its evolution of FB mission). 

The next phase has to be that I can buy/ sell my facial recognition imprint (the details that allows an algorithm to know it is you) that will be used to run over someone else’s data and I  will discover where you have been caught, or where I are now but is that sharing or open?