NewsDecember 21, 2017 @ 10:56 AM

Facebook Uses Artificial Intelligence Features to Improve Privacy and Reduce Catfishing

Facebook is using artificial intelligence features that will make users aware when their photos have been posted without permission. The addition could potentially reduce the threat of catfishing or being impersonated online.

One Small Step for Social Media Security

In an official Facebook blog post, the social media giant said machine learning will help warn individual customers if their likeness has been posted on the site, even if the image hasn’t been tagged. Users can then determine whether they want to be tagged or not, and even reach out directly to whomever uploaded the photo and request it be removed. The artificial intelligence features use facial recognition technology in a way that’s similar to offering up suggested friends, the company said.

One of the dangers of social media, of course, is the possibility that third parties may use someone’s likeness to create a phony account for nefarious purposes. This technique, known as catfishing, will be much more difficult to pull off now that Facebook’s artificial intelligence features can keep users apprised of where their photos pop up, TechRepublic suggested.

Though the intent may be to improve privacy and fight fake news online, Facebook is taking a permission-based approach with its latest strategy. As Recode reported, facial recognition tools are already in use on the social networking site, but Facebook will be asking customers to opt in for a more wide-ranging use of the technology to take advantage of artificial intelligence features.

A Giant Leap for Artificial Intelligence Features

According to Wired, Facebook’s facial recognition capabilities are almost unparalleled. The technology can identify users based on what they’re wearing, their body type and even partial glimpses of their faces. Besides reducing catfishing and helping avoid embarrassing photos from being disseminated, the artificial intelligence features will boost accessibility for those with visual impairments by using text to explain what’s in a particular image.

There are some caveats, of course. Ars Technica said the artificial intelligence features are only based on photos being listed publicly. It doesn’t include profile images, which are public by default.

Facebook has also chosen not to roll out the facial recognition technology to customers based in Canada and Europe. Although if the advancement proves to be successful in the U.S. when it comes to boosting security, there’s no telling how widespread the features could become.

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Shane Schick

Writer & Editor

Shane Schick is a writer, editor and speaker who focuses on how information technology creates business value. He lives in Toronto.