So you don’t have to go through the trouble of tagging/untagging yourself in pictures you may/may not like, Facebook has taken it upon itself to use facial recognition software to to it for you. You’re welcome, Facebook users.
You know, there’s nothing I like more than my friends tagging horribly unflattering pictures of me so everyone I know can find out about it in their stream before I give it my OK. But now you’re telling me that Facebook is going to go through all these pictures for me and tag them upon uploading? Well, that’s great! Because Facebook-bots are strangers. Heck, they’re not even human, amirite? I suppose this makes photo tagging more convenient. Facebook engineer Justin Mitchell says:
Now if you upload pictures from your cousin’s wedding, we’ll group together pictures of the bride and suggest her name. Instead of typing her name 64 times, all you’ll need to do is click “Save” to tag all of your cousin’s pictures at once.
Obviously, this benefits the people who tag others in their pictures. I don’t want to use the word “ambush,” but isn’t this the tiniest bit of an ambush on the people being tagged without their permission? Both iPhoto and Picasa already have facial recognition capabilities, but while both allow uploading to online galleries, neither has the scope or the social-ness of Facebook. One user in the comments section suggested getting the tag-ee’s permission before the tag is published, which would be a very good idea. And maybe it’s less awkward to be automatically tagged by a computer and then to untag yourself, rather than undo something done by a friend. (This automatic tagging can, of course, be opted out of in Privacy Settings by choosing Custom, then changing the setting for “Suggest photos of me to friends.”)
Maybe it’s the face-scanning/up-getting-in-one’s-grill that bothers me the most, because it doesn’t necessarily seem like that much of a horrible, privacy-intruding feature. But maybe it reminds me too much of the programs they use on crime shows to find missing persons/murder victims/murderers. Oh, technology.
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