Facebook unveiled new privacy settings today that make it easier for users to find photos of themselves, and to stop people from impersonating them.

The new tools govern facial recognition and give users a simple “on/off” setting that can disable Facebook’s ability to automatically recognize them.

And though this is an early attempt at helping users better control their identity on Facebook, some privacy experts think the company is on the right track–and, importantly, trying to do the right thing for its users.

The changes, which will affect all Facebook users globally, except those in Europe and Canada, fall into three main areas, and apply only to newly uploaded photos going forward.

[Photos: courtesy of Facebook]

First, Facebook uses facial recognition technology to notify users if they’re in a photo and are part of the audience for the post that includes the image. You’ll now have the ability to tag yourself in the photo if you like. As well, you’ll be given the opportunity to contact the person who posted the image if there’s something about it that worries you.

You won’t receive notifications about photos you’re in if you’re not part of a post’s intended audience.

Second, Facebook will now alert users when someone uploads a photo of them as a profile image. The idea here is to circumvent the problem of impersonation on Facebook.

Finally, the company is also applying facial recognition to the photos that the vision-impaired received. Those with screen readers will be alerted to which people appear in photos in posts in their feed, even when those people aren’t tagged.

Three Alerts

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