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Face recognition tagging returns to Facebook

Love it or hate it, Facebook tagging is back...

We're referring to the feature, first debuted by Facebook at the tail end of 2010, which offers suggestions of people you might want to tag in photos you upload.

In other words, throw an album of photographs up on Facebook and the site will attempt to automatically pick out faces within your shots. Presumably, that makes it a lot easier – and offers a bit of encouragement – for you to start attaching friends' profiles to faces and begin the whole Facebook sharing process.

So, where did tagging go in the meantime?

Facebook opened up the feature for worldwide access in June of 2011, but a sea of privacy complaints followed — so much so, that Facebook ended up suspending the feature, citing "technical improvements" that it had to make. That's the story that Facebook's sticking to when it announced the return of photo tagging this past Thursday, but the feature currently appears to be limited to US Facebook users only. Presumably, the social network has a few additional tweaks to make before redeploying the service elsewhere, lest regulators within the European Union start raising privacy concerns once again.

"As we announced last year, we temporarily suspended our photo tag suggestion feature to make some technical improvements. Today, we're re-enabling the feature in the United States so that people can use facial recognition to help them easily identify a friend in a photo and share that content with them," reads a Facebook blog post. "This is the same feature that millions of people previously used to help them quickly share billions of photos with friends and family."

And when Facebook says "same feature," it means it. As before, Facebook has defaulted to turning the tagging feature on for all accounts.

Turning the feature off — or, at least, removing yourself from the list of options that your friends will receive when they upload pictures with your recognised face in them — requires you to dig into Facebook's "Timeline and Tagging" Section of its main settings window. Once there, editing the "Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?" feature to the "No One" option will pull you out of Facebook's photo tagging.