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Faces DO matter to Facebook (but you knew that)!

This week, Facebook acquired, a facial recognition company technology company with mobile apps that can recognize people’s faces in photos. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I discussed facial recognition software on July 4, 2010, almost TWO YEARS ago, in my blog entry entitled, “Freedom, in a Technical Age.” One of’s apps, KLIK, attempts to identify Facebook friends’ faces on mobile-phone photos as they’re taken.

Well, isn’t that special?! 😉

“Fire up KLIK and watch as your friends’ names instantly appear next to their faces before or after you snap a photo,” the company says on its iTunes page for the app. “If KLIK doesn’t recognize a face use the new ‘Learn’ mode to train and improve recognition.”

In other words, HELP your government and others with the identities of your harder-to-recognize “friends.” 😉

Another app, PhotoTagger, works with Facebook to “auto-tag” faces in photo albums.

It’s unclear exactly how Facebook plans to incorporate the technology and employees of, which it purchased for between $55 million and $100 million, according to news reports. (The exact terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed.)

But Mike Isaac, a blogger at All Things D, says it’s likely that Facebook wants to use the company’s mobile experience to improve the face-detection technology on its smartphone and tablet apps.

Mike Isaac says:

“Currently, Facebook’s tagging suggestion feature does not work for mobile devices as well as it does on desktops, so it’s possible that could make it faster for mobile users to tag from their mobile uploads with less friction,” he writes. “And that timing makes sense, considering that Facebook just recently launched Camera, a standalone photo app that makes it even easier for users to snap and upload photos to Facebook without going through the cumbersome — and, frankly, rather clunky and slow — iOS and Android applications.”

Facebook is, of course, still the most popular place on the Internet for photo-sharing, with an average of 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day. That’s nearly one for every person in the United States. Facebook ALREADY utilizes facial recognition technology “to help (some might say prod) users to identify themselves and their friends in the photos they upload to the site.” (John D. Sutter of CNN still refers to his earlier article as “facial detection,” but he appears to have learned a lot about Facebook’s true intentions since 2010!) Fortunately, John also has published instructions for TURNING OFF facial recognition (who knows if this actually works?):

Facebook gives users the option to turn off face detection. To do so, go to your privacy settings (click the arrow at the top right of the homepage to get there) and then edit your “Timeline and Tagging” settings. At the bottom of the list, Facebook asks, “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?” Change that setting to “No One” if you don’t want to have your face detected.

As for John’s suggestions that “… you could always wear bizzaro hats and makeup that prevent face-detection technology from working,” I respectfully suggest that such techniques were not up to the technology of the 1990s, let alone the technology of 2012.

One of the things that I learned in Internet security is the importance of IDENTITY. If you think that Facebook and others are spending all of this cash to help you stay in touch with your friends, you are living in a fool’s paradise. :-)

-Bill at

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