EU privacy watchdogs will investigate a new Facebook feature that uses facial recognition to suggest name tags for people in pictures as U.S. companies continue to clash with stricter privacy norms in Europe.
Facebook's new Tag Suggestions feature recognizes pictures of user's friends and as they're uploaded and prompts them to "tag" the pictures with the person's name.
The feature, which had a limited launch in December but was only recently activated for most Facebook users, has spurred controversy in part because users are enrolled by default, leaving people to "opt out" if they don't like it.
"Tags of people on pictures should only happen based on people's prior consent and it can't be activated by default," said Gerard Lommel, a member of the privacy group tasked with evaluating the feature, to Bloomberg. He added that automatic tagging suggestions "can bear a lot of risks for users."
European privacy regulations tend to be stricter than in the U.S., which has caused some friction between American tech companies and the Continent. European data protection officials have reportedly pushed Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to limit how long they store users' search records, for example. That criticism is left to independent privacy advocates in the U.S.