Gotta Watch: Facebook privacy concerns
Facebook is unveiling a new facial recognition feature.
June 8th, 2011
12:58 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Facebook privacy concerns

Facebook has announced that it will begin scanning all users' pictures with facial recognition software, allowing the site to automatically recognize users' faces and identify them in photos. This service, like many of Facebook's previous changes, is automatically active for all users, so the only way to avoid it is to opt out. Thing is, it has the potential to make your face appear tagged in photos that you may not want to be associated with. This isn't the first time Facebook has been under fire for privacy issues. In today's Gotta Watch, we look back at some of Facebook’s past privacy snafus.

Mark Zuckerberg reacts to privacy concerns – Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to a backlash from users after a change in privacy settings made user information public by default. After users complained about their information being distributed to third parties and developers, Zuckerberg implemented changes and simplified privacy settings.

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Do you 'like' Facebook's features? – In 2010, Facebook implemented the then-controversial, now-ubiquitous, "Like" feature on various websites. The "Like" button, now replaced by a "Recommend" button (see it up there on the left hand corner of the screen), raised concerns over privacy issues and outraged many users over whether Facebook should be able to share their information with other websites. Like other Facebook features, it involved a complicated "opt out" process.

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Facebook wants your digits – Earlier this year, Facebook requested users' mobile phone numbers. But why would Facebook need your number? Is it is safe to provide that info to app developers, games and other third-parties?'s John Sutter takes a look.

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Facebook's growing influence – At more than half a billion users, Facebook has created a place for itself at the top of the social media heirarchy.  The company is changing the way information is shared, and at the same time changing our expectations of privacy online. So that begs the question, does it even matter if they violate our privacy, or will we just come back to them no matter how much we feel violated?

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Filed under: Facebook • Gotta Watch • Technology • Uncategorized
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Alex

    Maybe if you don't want something going on Facebook... don't put it on Facebook.

    If you're afraid that someone will see *gasp* a PICTURE of you, don't be ON Facebook.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I've posted pictures of friends who have no Facebook accounts. I've tagged those pictures with their names. Employers can find those pictures by performing simple searches online.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • dwt

      Well, your point seems to be that you don't care where or how your picture is tagged. Fair enough. But I don't want to be tagged now because I look bad from illness, and whether and where my photographic image is sent around is something I would like some part in deciding.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Uncle Safety

    @Alex......some peopel put up pcitures of you WITHOUT your consent.......THAT is my biggest issue.
    If you have a picture of me, please ask before you put it up. You may think it is employer may not.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • JBJingles@Uncle Safety

      Ahh, the joys of digital media... I agree though, I especially dislike (pun intended) when people take a picture of you with their cell phone and don't tell you. Not cool at all.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      If you are out in public, you have no control of pictures being taken of you. Being in public means anyone can take a picture of you.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mightyfudge

      You can take a picture of someone in public without their permission, but you cannot publish that image without their permission. FB is openging itself up to a whole slew of lawsuits on this one....

      June 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • esqmom

      @mightyfudge: can you please cite the legal provision (case law, statute – whether state or federally issued) that disallows someone to publish a photo of someone else without that person's permission? and are you talking about "publish to profit" or just "publish"?

      June 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Sorry, if you go out in public, you don't have an expectation of privacy, and therefor people don't need your permission to take your photo.

      Which means if there are photos of you doing something your boss wouldn't like, maybe you shouldn't have done it in the first place.

      June 10, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. JBJingles

    Maybe that's why so many people are using cartoon characters as their profile picture... Hmmmm, compromising picture with Daffy Duck could be embarassing.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. i rock

    Tag you're it

    June 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James

    This article is really late... they've been doing this for months now

    June 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mark Zuckerberg

    Next year we are going to launch a feature that remotely accesses your webcam. And we will do it without your permission. But don't worry, we will give you the choice to 'opt out' AFTER we have already scanned your house and sent the pics to every retailer in the world so they know what you have and what you buy. Thanks for your 'free' business.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kim

    This mean if your a victim of stalking that the person stalking you will be able to find you oh I guess facebook will be responsible for putting alot of people lives in danger. Not everyone is hiding from the law there hiding from stalkers. That is so unfair and I guess I will be deactivating my facebook acct because there are people I dont care to know or be friends with and i don't have to be exposed to threatening or dangerous people. STALKERS

    June 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bears are cute and cuddly

      Wow, Kim, what are you, 14??? If so, stay in school, and pay attention in English need it!

      June 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bears are cute and cuddly

    Just another reason I'm glad to be off Facebook (and before I de-activated my account, I deleted EVERYTHING).

    June 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chip

    Does anyone know how to deactivate this feature? I've been on FB and can't find anything.

    June 9, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Riff*Raff

      @Chip-scroll thru the comments. Several people have put up the steps to disable the facial recognition feature. It's under account options, I believe.

      June 9, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chris

    I would recommend this article, but I'm afraid of giving facebook insights in to what I recommend,

    June 10, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Niadin H

    Simply being knowledgeable and knowing how to protect yourself, and how to behave and interact online can go a long way to helping your privacy online. If you're unsure about the correct etiquette and the way you should conduct yourself, it might be useful to do a training course, such as Social Media Education Group

    June 14, 2011 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
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