Facebook Lets Users Opt Out of ‘Tag Suggestions’ Feature, Connecticut Says
Facebook Inc. made it easier for subscribers to opt out of the “tag suggestions” facial- recognition feature, addressing privacy concerns raised by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen.
Facebook has begun to run online ads linking users to their privacy settings and allowing them to opt out, the attorney general said today in an e-mailed statement. The Palo Alto, California-based social media website also made it easier to report impostor profiles, he said.
The “tag suggestions” feature uses facial-recognition software to identify users in photographs and link them with their names. Jepsen said in June that he had told Facebook a “critical” component of consumer privacy would be to let users choose to opt in before the company could use the images.
“For any users who opt out, any facial recognition data collected will be deleted,” Jepsen said today. He said the company assured him it wasn’t using the data for commercial or marketing purposes and that the feature couldn’t be used by people to gain access to other user information.
“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, a Facebook spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “The attorney general has been an effective partner on this project.”
Jepsen said Facebook also responded to his concerns about impostor accounts.
In February, while probing claims that a Connecticut lawmaker’s identity had been misused in a scam to solicit money, Jepsen wrote the company asking how it responded to reports of fraudulent or hacked accounts.
State Representative Kim Rose said in a Bloomberg interview at the time that someone had created a Facebook page using her name and photograph without her permission and then requested money from her “friends.” She said she tried dozens of times to report the fraud to the company.
Facebook added new language and links to a contact form to help users trying to report an impostor or fake profile, Jepsen said today. He said similar complaints also had led Facebook to recently start to use a “roadblock” system. Once an account is reported as fake, the company keeps it from being used until it’s verified through telephone numbers or other information.
Recently Facebook shut down a second impostor account that Rose discovered within an hour, Jepsen said.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at firstname.lastname@example.org.