A Facebook Messenger update ‘Photo magic’ will be able to scan pictures of its users’ photo library, detect the faces of friends and then prompts users to share the photos over Facebook messenger.
Photo Magic, which is being tested on Android in Australia, scans pictures and offers a push notification to encourage users to send the photo to the people in the picture. Once the users taps the notification the picture is instantly sent over Messenger, if multiple people are in the photo a thread is opened.
According to Facebook, over 700 million people use Facebook Messenger and over 9.5 billion photos were shared over the platform within the last month.
David Marcus, head of Messenger, posted on Facebook: “This is one of our upcoming features I’m really excited about as it’s still way too difficult to share photos with friends, and receive all the ones you’re in.”
The feature will not be available in the EU and UK, as facial recognition software breaks EU privacy laws because it collects data without users consent. When Facebook launched ‘Facebook moments’ earlier this year, the office of the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) said:
“Facebook has introduced this function in Europe without informing users and acquiring the necessary consent. Unambiguous consent from those affected is required by the European as well as the German data protection law,” the HmbBfDI said in a statement.
“For users whose biometric facial characteristics have already been incorporated into the database operated by Facebook, this consent needs to be acquired retrospectively,” said commissioner Johannes Caspar. “Facebook is obviously not prepared to take this step.”
Users will need to give Facebook Messenger permission to access their pictures so that the Photo Magic can work. You can opt out of having your face recognized through Facebook settings, or turn the push notification off.