Longtime Readers know that I detest the way tech companies strip-mine our personal information so they can sell it off to various other companies. Here’s one take on it:
Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a frightening story about a small company named Clearview AI that can identify the person in a picture someone uploads to its service. The New York Times said Clearview AI has more than 3 billion images “scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites” and that more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using it.
The report raises some really valid concerns about our privacy: If a picture of you exists somewhere online, and you participate in a protest or a rally, then it’s plausible law enforcement could upload a picture of you at the rally, run it through the Clearview system and easily find out who you are.
But fear not:
Facebook has a setting that can recognize your face so that you’re automatically suggested as a tag in pictures and video that your friends upload. (It won’t work if a stranger uploads your picture.) It’s not available for everyone, including people under 18. Facebook has been rolling it out in stages, and says it’s turned off by default, but I’ve had it for a while and have no recollection of how or when I turned it on.
- Open Facebook.com in your web browser.
- Tap the down arrow on the top right of the page.
- Choose Settings.
- Pick Face Recognition from the left side. If you don’t see it, your account might not have the feature.
- Next to “Do you want Facebook to be able to recognize you in photos and videos?” select No.
When you do that, Facebook says it will “delete your face recognition template” so you’re no longer recognized.
And if you honestly believe that your “face recognition template” has now actually been deleted, I have some snake oil to sell you, guaranteed to make you live forever, you witless simpleton.
I don’t trust any of these fucking bastards.