Is Facebook Tracking the Images of Non-Users?

By: Julia Neal

On April 21st, 2015 Adam Pezen, a Chicage resident and Facebook user since 2005 filed a formal complaint against Facebook in regards to their Face Recognition feature. An unknown feature to many users, Facebook has the ability to store the faces of non-Facebook users when multiple pictures with their faces are posted by users.

According to the lawsuit, “Facebook has collected and stored millions of face templates from its users. Face templates are digital maps of facial points which are sometimes referred to in the biometric industry as “face prints,” which is a digital biometric template specific to facial recognition technology.”

This use of big data raises serious privacy concerns, due to the “large potential of misuse” Pezen states.

According to another article, all of the information about these shadow profiles is found in their policies. On June 23rd, Facebook’s Policy Communications responded to one concerned user via email. Facebook stated: “concerns about collection, storage and shadow profiling of contact data is the sole fault of users who failed to read the Facebook policies they agreed to when they were getting started on Facebook.” This is because on the Facebook Terms and Conditions page, it states that contacts will be saved and cross-matched to other users.

Summary of concern:

The formal complaint:

Facebook’s response to one user in regards to complaint: