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Facebook expands notifications and use of facial recognition


Facebook is posting notifications informing users about its facial recognition features in their “News Feeds,” explaining some of the ways it uses the technology and noting that it can be turned off at any time.

Facebook users are directed to “Learn More” at a privacy page with opt-out instructions. Company representatives told The Verge that the notification refers to a feature which searches photos to identify user’s faces, and was announced in December.

“We’re always working to make Facebook better, so we’re adding more ways to use face recognition apart from just suggesting tags,” the notification reads.

Neither the feature nor the notification is available to users in the EU and Canada, due to different regulations governing data collection. Facebook is planning a limited test offering of additional choices in Europe, however, including facial recognition, in response to the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Silicon Republic reports. GDPR takes effect on May 25. EU users who opt in to Facebook’s facial recognition feature will receive notifications when photos of them are uploaded, whether they are tagged or not.

A Facebook representative also said that the notification has been delivered to a smaller number of users since December, and is not related to a recent court ruling that a class-action suit against the company under Illinois’ BIPA regulation will proceed.

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