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Public faces? A critical exploration of the diffusion of face recognition technologies in online social networks

Norval, AJ and Prasopoulou, E (2017) 'Public faces? A critical exploration of the diffusion of face recognition technologies in online social networks.' New Media and Society, 19 (4). 637 - 654. ISSN 1461-4448

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In recent years, we have witnessed a rapid spread of biometric technologies from the security domain to commercial and social media applications. In this article, we critically explore the repercussions of this diffusion of face recognition to everyday contexts with an in-depth analysis of Facebook’s “tag suggestions” tool which first introduced the technology to on-line social networks. We use Nissenbaum’s framework of contextual integrity to show how the informational norms associated with biometrics in security and policing - their contexts of emergence - are grafted on-line social networks onto their context of iteration. Our analysis reveals a process that has inadvertently influenced the way users understand face recognition, precluding critical questioning of its wider use. It provides an important deepening of contextually-driven approaches to privacy by showing the process through which contexts are co-constitutive of informational norms. Citizens are also offered a critical tool for understanding the trajectory of biometrics and reflect on the data practices associated with the use of face recognition in social media and society at large.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Facebook; face recognition technology; privacy; Nissenbaum; contextual integrity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Aletta Norval
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2016 16:30
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 15:15

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