Facebook wants to tag every photo of you

The social network's Deepface feature will be able to recognise faces from those previously tagged

Facebook wants to tag every photo of you

Facebook is set to get a whole lot better at picking out faces thanks to a clever AI system which goes by the somewhat alarming name of DeepFace.

The sophisticated software, which is currently in development, means that Facebook could potentially pick your face out from a large group - not just in your friends' snapshots but in any crowd photos that are uploaded, such as those from concerts or political rallies - something which could raise privacy concerns.

The social network's existing facial recognition algorithm is rapidly improving and can already suggest tags for photos with impressive accuracy. The technology is driven by software from Face.com - an Israeli company that Facebook acquired in 2012 that specialised in facial tagging.

Facebook is getter even better at facial recognition (Reuters)
Facebook is getter even better at facial recognition (Reuters)

Around 400 million photos are uploaded to the network every day and Facebook automatically tries to tag people in your photos. A tagged photo is more valuable to Facebook than an untagged photo - as the more interaction there is on a picture, the more this boosts the site's engagement metrics and as a result, its ability to make money.

Users can turn off tag suggestions easily in their Setting page, and can always untag themselves from photos but Facebook will still use the data to learn, which is set to raise more questions over online privacy.

[ Five really scary things Facebook knows about you ]

While the advanced DeepFace AI may sound worrying, the idea is actually to increase privacy, says Facebook. Whereas users have previously been tagged in potentially embarassing photos without their permission, the latest software will enable them to see what they've been tagged in and even offer them the option to blur out their face in a photo.

[ Facebook just changed its privacy policy - what it means for you ]

Facebook isn't the only one working on face recognition software, with the US governement reportedly funding university research on the subject, and Google also working on its own version of the technology.