AG: Facebook Responds to Imposter, Tagging Concerns

Features include opting out of facial recognition.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Facebook is making it easier to report when someone creates a fake profile of you and to opt out of a facial recognition “tagging” program.

    Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said on Tuesday that Facebook has worked with attorneys in his office and addressed privacy concerns and other issues Jepsen raised with the company in February and last month.

    Jepsen first reached out to the social networking giant in February after State Rep. Kim Rose, D-Milford, found a Web site that was using her name and photos without her permission to solicit money.

    She tried to reach Facebook to take down the fake page, but she was having difficulty, according to Jepsen.

    Facebook’s response, Jepsen said, was to create a “roadblock” system, which it began using recently. When an account is reported as fake, the company puts up a “roadblock” to keep the account from being used until it is verified as authentic, using telephone numbers or other information.

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    Facebook has also added links to a user contact form providing information on how to report an imposter or fake profile and a “report abuse” prompt for complaints that a profile is “impersonating someone or is fake.” “Impersonation” has also been added to the drop-down menu to report “bullying or harassing” complaints.

    Last month, Jepsen again contacted Facebook about the “Tag Suggestions” feature that uses facial recognition software to make photo-tagging easier for its users because he was concerned that it compromised users’ privacy.

    “Facebook has made significant changes that will provide better service and greater privacy protection to its users, not only in Connecticut, but across the country,” Jepsen said in a written statement. “The company has been cooperative and diligent in its response and I look forward to working with them in the future to make sure Facebook users’ privacy is protected, which I believe is our shared goal.”

    To address concerns about facial recognition, Facebook developed online Tag Suggest ads, linking users to their privacy settings and allowing them to opt out if they choose, Jepsen said. The ads will cycle on people’s Facebook homepages for the next two weeks.

    “For any users who opt out, any facial recognition data collected will be deleted,” Jepsen said.

    Facebook also told Jepsen it will not use the information for commercial or marketing purposes and that the biometric data was secured and private individuals could not use the information to gain access to other user information.