Facebook "Moments" Photo App is Not Coming to Europe

By James O Malley on at

A Facebook photo sharing app won't be made available in Europe, because of data-sharing regulations.

The BBC reports that an Irish data regulator has slapped down Facebook Moments because it is insisting that users should be able to opt-in on whether their data is used, something which Facebook isn't currently willing to change.

Moments sounds pretty clever. Essentially the app scans all of the photos on your phone and runs a facial recognition algorithm over them, to pick out anyone you're friends with on Facebook. Then using the app you can send recognised friends your photos.

Facebook's DeepFace AI system, which appears to be at the heart of the app, is apparently capable of recognising faces with 97.25 per cent accuracy.

According to the Beeb, Canadian regulators have also previously expressed concern about the technology saying "of significant privacy concern is the fact that Facebook has the ability to combine facial biometric data with extensive information about users, including biographic data, location data, and associations with friends."

It remains to be seen whether Facebook will eventually cave in and change how it works, or whether the Irish regulator will change its mind.

Battles like this are likely to become increasingly common. Just a few weeks ago we saw Google unveil hugely sophisticated photo recognition algorithms which are likely to spark similar concerns. [BBC]