17 June 2011

Facing Up To Facebook Feature Creeps

Facing Up To Facebook Feature Creeps

Facebook photo tagging is genius and we all know how to use it. However, like most things in life sometimes our intentions are good but sometimes our mind is bad! You know the scenario; you’ve taken an awful (but funny) photo of your best friend falling flat on his face (which 10 years ago would have never seen the light of day) and now thanks to our obsession with social media and sharing every wonderful moment this now ends up online, tagged and available in its full glory for all our friends to appreciate.

Well, Facebook photo tagging has just got better! Facebook has now introduced facial recognition. This new feature makes life even easier for us picture taking addicts. The new default feature recognises a “friends” face when you post a picture, so no need for individual picture tagging (which could be a bore). Facebook will ask you to confirm if you want to tag a picture or album and do the rest for you; great idea eh? Well yes and no. What if you are on the other side of the camera and don’t want to be automatically tagged into every photo ever taken of you (without your consent)? Well you need to disable the feature in your settings; here is how.

Some of you techie fiends out there will know that this isn’t a brand new idea. Apple have been using facial recognition for a few years now with iPhoto. However, Apple only make this feature available for personal use, so no unwanted tagging situations.

Facebook is having to constantly develop new features to attempt to stay ahead in today’s competitive world of social media and one of these new features is Brand Tagging; which, in principle, is another great idea. Currently the feature allows fans of popular brand to promote the brand and pledge their loyalty by tagging themselves in photos with the coveted product. For example Starbucks. This feature is voluntary, and at the minute we are still in control of what brands we want to support and be associated with. However, there is speculation that may all change. We may unwittingly find a picture of ourselves with a product that we may not want to share with the world.

As Facebook continues to grow, develop, introduce new features and attempts to make us users a little more “social” there will undoubtably be debate, especially around the issues of privacy and what we are willing share with others.

The best advice is to keep on top of your privacy settings and if it all gets too much there is always the ‘deactivate account’ option! 

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