Published: April 2018

Facebook’s facial recognition violates consumers’ privacy

Consumer Action joined the Electronic Privacy Information Center and other consumer and privacy advocates in filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding Facebook’s use of facial recognition software. The Facebook feature identifies people uploaded in users’ photos by suggesting the names of “friends” it recognizes. This practice of scanning and collecting biometric facial matches is deceptive and ignores the explicit privacy preferences of many Facebook users.

As Facebook's facial recognition technology advances, its identification of persons in photos represents privacy problems and a violation of the company's agreement to get users' consent. Facebook’s "Tag Suggestions" feature relies on sophisticated facial-recognition software that compares faces in photos with a massive database of face templates. Facebook routinely scans photos for biometric facial matches without the consent of the image subject. The company then uses Facebook users' confirmations to help advance its database of facial recognition matches.

Advocates urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate these privacy concerns and decide whether Facebook has violated privacy standards under a 2011 user consent order.

Lead Organization

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

Other Organizations

The Electronic Privacy Information Center | The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood | The Center for Digital Democracy | The Constitutional Alliance | Consumer Action | The Consumer Federation of America | Consumer Watchdog | The Cyber Privacy Project | Defending Rights & Dissent | The Government Accountability Project | The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse | The Southern Poverty Law Center | U.S. PIRG

More Information

Click here to read the formal complaint.

For more information, please visit EPIC.

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