(Lack of) privacy: Facebook is frequently at the center of one controversy or another, and usually, it's due to a privacy mishap. Once upon a time, the company was vilified for its alleged part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and more recently, it has caught fire for its implementation of facial recognition technology. By default, the tech scans faces within Facebook photos and uses that data for various purposes, including suggesting friend tags.
These practices have resulted in Facebook being slapped with a class-action lawsuit (which was recently granted permission to proceed by the US Appeals Court). Now, the company has finally taken measures to address user concerns. This decision was announced in a somewhat confusingly-worded blog post, so we'll try to tackle some of the core points here.
For starters, Facebook says that, previously, it only used facial recognition technology for the "tag suggestions" feature, which scans photos for your friends' faces, and suggests you tag them if you wish (manual tagging has always been an option, too).
Later, in December 2017, the company introduced a broader "face recognition" settings option for "some people." This switch not only let you switch on or off tag suggestions, but also other uses of face recognition across Facebook. Some of these uses include fraud and identity theft prevention, as well as accessibility features.
Beginning today, Facebook claims that anyone who still had the tag suggestions setting up to this point will be shown a notification that lets them opt-in (or out) of the more comprehensive face recognition setting. If you do nothing (by not responding to the notice) or you only ever had the face recognition setting in the first place (if you've newly joined Facebook, for example), you'll now be opted-out of these features by default.
Tying into these updates, Facebook is also making improvements to the face recognition settings interface itself. Moving forward, it will include clear information that describes how the technology works when it's on, what sort of data it collects, and more -- as well as on and off buttons, of course.
It remains to be seen whether or not these changes will be enough to dissuade Facebook's class-action opponents from going after the tech giant.