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Facebook’s new default setting is scary, you can change it

June 8, 2011
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Facebook introduces facial recognition

Facebook is like Santa in that it sees you when you’re sleeping, it knows when you’re awake, it knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake. Not literally, but when we tell you what they’ve done, you might feel like it’s that extreme. Quietly, Facebook has introduced facial recognition software to their offering which seems harmless until it suggests to an acquaintance that they tag you in a picture at a conference drinking beer from a giant glass boot.

It’s not actually scary because it’s only among “friends” on Facebook, and the tagging is not automatic as some tech pundits have suggested, rather automates the process of tagging so that friends don’t have to manually tag others, simply acknowledge the facial recognition software option to tag everyone it recognizes (in a yes/no type format). It’s not “scary,” but the idea that Facebook knows your face is a little unsettling given that you put that together with the information you’ve volunteered (age, location, shopping preferences, religion, business, etc.) and you’ve got one heck of a database. It sounds like conspiracy theory mumbo jumbo, but what if a dangerous enemy of the state hacked the network?

You can put a stop to this

Without training on the ins and outs of privacy settings as we have in the past, we’ll simply show you how to alter this single privacy setting so that Facebook does not suggest to people to tag your face (thus separating you by one degree from the facial recognition software).



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The Lifehacker video above shows you how to change the settings, or follow the instructions below:

  1. On the top right, click “Account” then “Privacy Settings” then click the link “Customize Settings.”
  2. Scroll to “Suggest Photos of Me to Friends,” and select “Edit Settings.”
  3. On the right, select “Disable” from the drop down menu.

On the flip side, some people (and we find this to often be generational) want to be in every picture possible regardless of content, so if that is your goal or your preference, leave the settings as they are because it is currently the default.

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