Facebook had to dumb down Moments for Europe and Canada — here’s why

Facebook Smart Phone App
Facebook has launched a new version of its Moments photo-sharing app in Europe and Canada. The different between this and other versions? This one doesn’t have facial recognition.

“But isn’t facial recognition an integral part to how Moments works,” I hear you ask? Yes. Yes it is. Moments is designed to make photo sharing with friends and family easy by scanning photos for individuals — for example, if you go to a birthday party you could easily pick out all the photos of the honoree and share them with friends and family.

There’s a reason Facebook launched Moments in Europe and Canada without facial recognition. The company had to modify the app to conform with local privacy laws. The result is a fairly dumbed-down version of the app, which will ask users to identify faces manually, after which the app will attempt to find photos that “appear to include the same face,” basing what it finds on broad similarities, rather than the precise facial recognition tech it employs in the U.S. version.

In fact, if legal battles fail to go Facebook’s way, the company could end up having to remove facial recognition from its U.S. Moments app too. A privacy lawsuit against Facebook’s photo-tagging feature will be going ahead, despite Facebook’s request to have the case dismissed off the bat. Of course, facial recognition in Facebook has been in question for years now, however the courts have yet to determine whether or not Facebook’s features violate any laws. Google is facing similar lawsuits over Google Photos, which has a number of similar features compared to Facebook Moments.

It’s likely facial recognition will continue to appear in the courts — while it seriously adds to the convenience of some services, it’s a clear target for privacy advocates. In the meantime, U.S. users can continue to take advantage of the feature on Moments, but if you’re in Europe or Canada, you might be out of luck. Or in luck, depending on how privacy-concerned you are.


Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Photoshop fail gives Aussie leader two left feet in official portrait

The Aussie prime minister doesn't have two left feet, despite an official photograph of the leader and his family suggesting otherwise. It was, of course, a Photoshop fail, and the embarrassing snafu was soon trending on Twitter.
Social Media

Instagram now lets you post to multiple accounts in one tap

Instagram for iPhone now lets you post to multiple accounts at the same time. It's not the regram feature that many users have been asking for, but it could prove useful for some users who manage more than one profile.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.