Facebook has announced it’s going to stop using its controversial Tag Suggestions feature, and facial recognition technology is going to be available to all of its users, Reuters reported Tuesday (Sept. 3).
Facial recognition tech has been available to a certain number of users since December 2017, and it works by letting users know if a profile photo has been used by another account, or if they’re in photos in which they haven’t been tagged or notified about.
Tag Suggestions, a feature that lets people tag friends, has been controversial. It’s been in the middle of a privacy dispute that resulted in a 2015 lawsuit filed by users in Illinois.
Facebook is accused of breaking the state’s law on biometric activity, called the Biometric Information Privacy Act. The suit said Facebook stored and collected data from millions of users without their permission.
Facebook tried to undo the class action status of the lawsuit, but a federal appeal’s court denied the effort last month.
“We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time,” Facebook said in August.
The company also said it works with a number of privacy experts and authorities to help guide how it uses facial recognition software, and how its users get to interact with the technology.
The Wall Street Journal reported in July that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Facebook lied to users about handling phone numbers, and it misled users about turning off a photo recognition tool.
The phone number issue concerns Facebook’s two-factor authentication, which allowed users to ask for a one-time password via text when they log onto the site. However, some advertisers had access to the contact details without permission from users.
The FTC also claimed Facebook didn’t tell about 30 million people that they could turn off a facial recognition tool that tagged people in photos.
Those two complaints will be part of the settlement, which will reportedly include a $5 billion fine and the creation of a privacy board meant to provide oversight of Facebook.