Facebook caves to privacy pressures from Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and others by running ads to let users opt out of the tag-suggestions facial-recognition feature.
26 said it has made it easier for subscribers to opt out of a controversial
feature that uses facial-recognition technology to tag users in photos.
General George Jepsen is taking credit for the change, which includes deleting
the facial-recognition data of users who opt out of the tag suggestions feature
at the root of the issue.
The tag-suggestions feature automatically detects users in photos
them with their names so that users don't have to manually tag friends.
announced last year, has been gradually rolled out to users all over the world
with the change reflected in users' privacy settings. Facebook immediately
caught flak for not advising users the feature had been turned on.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center
, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)
complained that Facebook should have provided more notice and should instead
make the feature opt-in.
and the others did not score that victory, Facebook did respond to the
criticism. The company is running "tag-suggest ads" linking users to
their privacy settings and allowing them to opt out, Jepsen and Facebook confirmed
round of ads ran earlier this month and yielded more than 400 million Facebook
impressions across U.S. Facebook users' home pages.
round is running now on U.S. home pages for the next two weeks. Facebook told
Jepsen that every Facebook user in the U.S. would see the new ad at least twice
during this period.
Jepsen noted that facial-recognition data would be deleted for users who click
the ad link to their privacy settings and opt out of the tool.
which bowed, if ever so slightly, to the political pressure, put a positive
spin on the move.
collaboration with Attorney General Jepsen means that people across the country
using Facebook will be more aware of our personalized privacy settings, and how
they can be used to benefit their experience on the site," Tim Sparapani,
director of public policy at Facebook, told eWEEK
in an emailed statement.
added new language and links to a contact form and an automatic email response
to direct users to report an imposter or fake profile.