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Here's how to opt out of Facebook's facial-recognition feature

TECH SAVVY

If you don't want Facebook to automatically identify you in photos posted by friends, you must opt out. It's a bit tricky, so we'll walk you through the process.

June 11, 2011|By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times

If you haven't seen it yet, Facebook's new facial-recognition software is a crafty feature. Pass a cursor over a photo that you just uploaded to Facebook and, voila, the person's name pops up like magic.

But what if you're in the photo and you don't want Facebook to automatically identify you? As with many of the social network's features, users have to opt out, and that means navigating a complex web of settings.

If you're worried about revealing too much, here are some ways to shield yourself.

Facebook says the facial-recognition technology makes suggestions only when people upload new photos and it suggests identities only from among their friends. Friends are notified when they are tagged and can remove the tag. Some people have found this feature useful, but if you want to turn it off, here's how.

1) Under the "Account" drop-down menu at the top right, click "Privacy Settings."

2) In the "Sharing on Facebook" section, click on "Customize Settings."

3) Scroll down to "Suggest Photos of Me to Friends" and click "Edit Settings."

4) In the drop-down on the right, click "Disable."

Once you have done that, it might be a good idea to double-check your other privacy settings. If you want to make your selections as private as possible, go item by item through the "Things I Share" and "Things Others Share" sections and choose "friends only."

Other steps you can take:

• Disable the "Include me in 'People here now' after I check in" button. The feature allows a user with a mobile phone to see others who are checked in at a place like a restaurant or a museum and vice versa.

• Disable the "Friends can check me in to Places" button. With this feature, friends can check you into a coffee shop or museum on their mobile devices and let others know where you are.

• In the "Contact Information" section, double-check your settings to make sure your email address and cellphone number are "Friends Only." If you don't want your friends to have that information, you can set it to "Only me."

• Go back to "Private Settings" and check "Connecting on Facebook," where you adjust settings that determine who can find you on Facebook and who can send you friend requests or messages.

• At the bottom of "Private Settings," check "Apps and websites," where you manage which apps have permission to access your information. Pay special attention to "public search," which grants permission to search engines to see and display your data.

jessica.guynn@latimes.com

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