The old feature enabled users to choose whether Facebook could suggest that their friends tag them in photos. This was without giving them control over other uses of the technology.
The face recognition setting, available to some Facebook users since December 2017, has additional functions. For instance, it can notify account holders if their profile photo is used by someone else. This could be positive for keeping a check on identity theft. People who opt in to the new setting will still have tag suggestions automatically generated about them.
However, Facebook’s face recognition technology has been at the center of a privacy related lawsuit since 2015. The lawsuit by Illinois users accused the company of violating the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. They claim it illegally collected and stored biometric data of millions of users without their consent.
Last month, a federal appeals court rejected Facebook’s effort to undo the class action status of the lawsuit. Facebook said: “We have always disclosed our use of face recognition technology and that people can turn it on or off at any time”.
The company said it continues to engage with privacy experts, academics, regulators and its users on face recognition and its control options.