Facebook has launched a new facial recognition feature to its Facebook Messenger app. Called Photo Magic, the system scans through a user’s camera roll to identify pictures featuring the user’s friends, and then prompts the user with the option of sending those photos to the featured friends.
It’s designed to capitalize on a major trend that has seen Facebook Messenger users share about 9.5 billion pictures a month. According to The Verge, it the new feature is the product of a collaborative effort between the Facebook Messenger team and the development team behind Moments, a Facebook app that revolves around automatic photo tagging based on facial recognition.
Of course, the company’s collection of biometric data has landed Facebook into some legal trouble, with a potential class action lawsuit seeking retribution over the unauthorized collection and storage of facial biometric data. The legal troubles seem to have prompted Facebook to keep Moments out of the European market, where privacy restrictions are more strict, so it’s somewhat surprising to see the launch of a new app feature based on similar technology.
Still, Photo Magic might not launch everywhere either; so far it has only been released in Australia. And it requires users to opt-in for the feature, which could help to protect Facebook against certain legal liabilities. The social media giant seems to be betting on that, or else it simply sees too much of a net gain from promoting such technology to worry too much about any legal costs.
Source: The Verge