Many of us have fallen prey to hackers and identity thieves on the world’s biggest social network. While it’s easy – albeit a bit of a hassle – to try and notify your friends on Facebook of being hacked or of your photos being stolen after the fact, Facebook has now rolled out optional tools to help guard you against identity theft before it happens.

In December 2017, Facebook introduced new tools to help users of the social network to manage their identity by using facial recognition. Facial recognition on Facebook is nothing new, and the incorporation of facial recognition to make tagging people in photos quicker and easier was originally introduced in 2010.

Facebook has now taken this functionality a bit further by giving users the option to find photos that they have not been tagged in and to subsequently establish whether other people have tried to use photos of you as their profile picture – also known as catfishing. Should you decide to turn the facial recognition functionality on, you will receive a notification when Facebook recognises your likeness, whether you have been tagged or not.

Facebook also believes that this will help the visually impaired, as people who have vision loss will be able to get descriptions whose photos appear in their timeline.

Is Facebook getting a little too personal?

There are benefits to utilising facial recognition in the way it is proposed. Trying to eradicate catfishing, allowing users to see potentially damaging photos before others do and not missing out on photos that you haven’t been tagged in are just some of these.

Even if just being on Facebook already gives the company access to a lot of information about its users, some may say the benefits of this new feature don’t outweigh the sheer creepiness of Facebook having access to, and recognising every single photo you have been tagged in. There are also concerns about bullies deliberately uploading embarrassing photos or videos so that their target can see them.

It is important to note that Facebook’s new stance on facial recognition is optional, so you can turn it off if you find this a little close for comfort. This new setting has not been implemented as yet, but watch this space for more information, once it has.

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