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How to turn off Facebook's creepy face recognition


We've told you about Facebook's "tag suggestions" feature quite a while ago. We explained that it uses face recognition, that it's slightly creepy, and that you can turn it off.

But since everyone seems to be talking about the feature right now, let's have a review.*

Facebook's tag suggestions feature is supposed to make your life simpler — in theory, at least. By using face recognition, it's able to match photos uploaded by you or your friends against previously tagged ones in order to suggest who the individuals in the new images might be.

The reason the feature is considered creepy is that it could potentially suggest your name on some embarrassing photos which you don't want to see — much less be tagged in.

So what can you do to nip the creep factor in the bud?

Untag yourself from photos you don't like and — this should be pretty obvious — turn off the darn feature!


While tag suggestions are turned on by default, it just takes a few clicks to change your settings so that you won't have to worry about them. Our own Helen A.S. Popkin explains how to take care of things:

According to Facebook, "for any reason you don't want your name to be suggested, you will be able to disable suggested tags in your Privacy Settings.  Just click 'Customize Settings' and 'Suggest photos of me to friends.' Your name will no longer be suggested in photo tags, though friends can still tag you manually."

Currently, you have the option of untagging photos you've been tagged in by friends. Simply go to the photo and click your name to do so. There is no option to prevent friends from tagging you in photos, but you can prevent others from seeing the photos via your tagged name. Here's how you do that:

  • From the Account menu in the upper right corner of your profile, chose Privacy Settings.
  • Underneath the list of your current privacy settings, click "Customize settings."
  • Scroll down to "Things others share" section.
  • Next to "Photos and videos I'm tagged in" click "Edit settings."
  • From the "Edit settings" prompt that appears on your screen, use the drop-down menu to choose "Customize."
  • In the "Custom Privacy" prompt that appears, you will see a drop down menu next to "These people."
  • From the "These people" menu, you have the option of choosing who can see photos via your tagged name. You can set it to "Only me" or you can add specific Facebook friends who are permitted see those photos via your tagged name. Here, you also have the option of preventing specific Facebook friends seeing photos via your tagged name.
  • Save this option. As with other Facebook privacy settings, you can change it at any time. You just have to do it.

 *In case you're wondering: The Facebook face recognition feature is in the news again because its gradual rollout has brought it to yet another batch of people. If only they'd done a quick Google search before raising all sorts of privacy alarms, they'd probably have spared themselves from a great deal of angry typing.

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Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's obsessed with Twitter and loves to be liked on Facebook.