Facebook changed its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities today to reflect new ways the social network can use your data. One of those ways? The network may now use your profile photos as more fodder for its facial recognition technology.
Facebook chief of privacy Erin Egan announced the changes in a post on the social network today, linking to the revised Statement and Data Use Policy. The changes are clear: The company will use your public information, so start accessing those privacy settings now. More specifically, Facebook now has the explicit permission to use your “name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content.”
It also added clearer language about how third parties can use your public information saying, “We may enable access to public information that has been shared through our services, or allow service providers to access information so they can help us provide services.”
Beyond these changes, however, Facebook may also use your profile picture, which is public, in its facial recognition technology, according to Reuters. This technology is controversial and rightly so if used beyond its current role as a “tag” finder for uploaded photos. Users can tag people’s faces on Facebook photos in order to identify them.
Thus far, Facebook has only used facial recognition to help users tag photos based on faces in previously tagged photos, but having the facial technology extend to profile photos means even those who have never been tagged in a photo can be recognized.
Egan noted that she cannot promise this technology will stay confined to tagging, but Facebook users will be informed if anything changes.