Facebook recently launched its new auto-tagging feature for photos to a lukewarm response. While the move was intended to make it easier and faster to tag uploaded photos, many people want to turn off the auto-tagging feature on Facebook as they understandably don’t want every picture of themselves tagged. If you’ve uploaded pictures recently, you’ve probably noticed that when the upload is complete, you’re taken to a screen full of close-cropped photos with tag suggestions where Facebook recognizes the face based on other tagged photos. If a picture isn’t recognized, you’re asked to tag it there in order to help expedite the process in the future. If you find this upgrade to be a bit unsettling, remember that you’re not necessarily forced to use it. There are ways around.
Skipping the Auto-Tag Altogether
If photo-tagging isn’t your cup of tea or you don’t think your friends would appreciate being tagged in every picture you just uploaded from last weekend, you’re not forced to auto-tag.
When the auto-tag screen full of faces comes up, you’ll see that Facebook has already made suggestions. You don’t have to confirm these. If you scroll the whole way to the bottom, you’ll see a light blue link on the left that says “Skip Tagging Friends.”
Two things to note, here. First, if you choose to use the auto-tags, check and double-check who Facebook is suggesting. In the picture above, the person who is suggested as “Jamie” is not Jamie at all.
Second of all, if you choose to “Skip Tagging Friends” at this time, you can still tag photos manually. If you go to the album, click “Edit Album” and then “Edit Pictures,” you can tag there as you caption. You can also tag as you view the pictures. Note: it appears that Facebook has done away with the ability to hold off on publishing your photos until you’ve tagged them and written captions, so just know that once the upload is complete, they’re out there.
Finally, there are over 500 pictures of me tagged on Facebook, so it should recognize my face by now. In the example above, I am the first person in the second row, but you’ll note that Facebook doesn’t suggest a tag for me. That’s because I opted out of auto-tagging, which means that, while I can’t shut off the auto-tag prompts on my own screen (for now), when my friends upload pictures of me, they shouldn’t be be prompted to tag me in batches of photos at a time.
Opting Out of Auto-Tagging
You have the ability to adjust your privacy settings so that, while they can still tag you manually later, others are not automatically prompted to mass-tag photos of you immediately after uploading.
To do this, first go to your privacy settings. On that screen, click the link that says “Customize Settings.” Note: double-check that box above it that says “Let friends of people tagged in my photos and posts see them.” Mine was checked, though I know I would never have done that.
Next, scroll down to the “Things Others Share” category. Here you’ll find “Suggest photos of me to friends.” You want to click on “Edit settings.”
If you don’t want friends to have the ability to auto-tag photos of you, you want to make sure this says “Disabled.” You’ll also see that Facebook tells you a little bit about the auto-tags and you have the opportunity to learn more, as well.
Like most of Facebook’s upgrades, people will complain. While the auto-tagging can definitely be seen as pushing the boundaries of privacy, remember that you still have control over your settings. You can choose to only let friends see tagged photos of you, and you can opt out of appearing in auto-tag suggestions. It’s also a good idea to keep stock of the pictures of you floating around the Internet, especially on sites like Facebook. You should always know who has access to those images. What do your photos say about you? Remember, you can always un-tag photos, too.
Image Source: Wikipedia (Facebook icon); Renee DeCoskey (screen shots)