Last week, Facebook changed their policy on facial recognition technology on their platform. Facebook now requires new users to opt in or out of the facial recognition technology, instead of keeping the old default setting.
Current Facebook users will soon see their friend tag suggestion feature disappear-this is the feature that will allow you to tag friends in photos with the squares around faces. The old setting will be replaced with a new one that removes tags. This new setting will be defaulted to “off”.
Facebook explained users who opt in to face recognition will help weed out fake accounts that impersonate real people by using stolen photos. Affected users will see a prompt asking them to opt in or out of the new features.
Earlier this summer, Facebook lost an appeal in a lawsuit under a 2008 Illinois law that stated Facebook’s facial recognition technology was illegal based on the collection and storing of biometric data.
The lawsuit, brought in 2015, could represent a class of up to 7 million Facebook users in Illinois. With fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 allowed per violation, Facebook could be responsible for paying billions in damages.
In July, the Federal Trade Commission hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine for multiple privacy violations. Despite being the biggest FTC fine in history, it was comparatively small relative to Facebook’s tens of billions in annual revenue, and Facebook stock surged on the news.