SACRAMENTO –In typical fashion, Facebook recently launched its facial recognition feature as a default. Facial recognition presents images of friends for you to tag (identify and link to their accounts), which means that unless you disable it you and your child’s photos are being presented to your “friend” communities to be “tagged”, whether you agree to it or not. And you have no control over your friends’ privacy settings, which if set for “Everyone” will make photos of your child and information about them available for public viewing.
Every law enforcement official interviewed for this examiner column has stressed the importance of providing minimal personal data on the social media websites. In this regard, the facial recognition feature introduces a new level of exposure by providing bad actors more information and context with images to support their exploitive agendas with our innocent ones.
Last May, an interview with Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of California in Sacramento, Laurel White, revealed how on-line child predators are patient groomers of their victims. They use the information made available by kids in their posts including how they are feeling (status) to where they go to school and their interests, in order to establish trust by relating to them using kids’ own personal data.
“Predators work a number of kids at one time,” White said, “and then hone in on the one kid they have convinced to trust them and who appears the most vulnerable.”
Facial recognition software if not disabled, will encourage photos of you and your children to be tagged by others in your friend community, offering more information for bad actors to leverage our social media networks against our children.
To disable facial recognition, take the following steps:
- Go to “Account”
- Select “Privacy Settings”
- Click “Manage Privacy Settings”
- Click on “Customize Settings and look for the option “Suggest photos for friends” and click “Disable”
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- U.S. Attorney, Eastern District, CA – Sacramento Office