1 Good Reason – Social Marketing

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How Facebook Should Have Introduced Face Recognition

June 11th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Press Release From Zuckerberg, Inc.

Facebookville, CA 6/11/11 Photos are an important way for Facebook members to share their lives with each other.  And Tagging your friends and family in a photo is a way to make sure that they see a photo that you’ve posted of them.  When you’re Tagged in a photo you can then share that photo with others or remove that Tag if you wish.

We’ve introduced a new enhancement to photo sharing called “Suggested Tags”.  Suggested Tags will help you identify people in the photos you post so that you can Tag them when you want.  It doesn’t Tag anyone for you, only you can do that.  But it does suggest tags for you of people that may be in the photo.  This will help you to Tag more people in the photos you post on Facebook.

Of course you can always remove a Tag of you from a photo that you don’t want.  Now when a friend posts picture of you, with “Suggested Tags” it’s more likely they will tag you in the photo.  This will give you an opportunity to ask them to remove a photo which may have been taken from an unflattering angle.

The technology behind this new advancement is amazing it’s called facial recognition.  And what it does is look at photos of your closest friends and compare them to a new photo you’ve just uploaded.  If it finds a match between one of your friends and the new photo it Suggests a Tag.  If it doesn’t find a match, nothing else happens.  If the person suggested in the Tag doesn’t match, you can simply ignore the suggestion.  And if you don’t want us to suggest you to your friends you can turn it off by following the directions here.

Lessons Learned

  1. It’s Social Media heck in anything, don’t lead with the technology.  I worked in High Technology for a couple of decades, and the mistake that engineers always make is leading with the tech.  We have Facial Recognition.  No you don’t, you have a minor new enhancement that may save me 3 seconds the next time I upload a picture, maybe.  Actually, it’s no big deal.
  2. I, your customer don’t care how much effort it took you to make it happen, I care about; how much it costs me, how it will make me feel, and what it does for me. In that order.
  3. Beware of the Creepyness Factor.  This is a biggie in social media that technologists and users are constantly wrestling with.  Cool technology that helps me find my friends will seem creepy if it’s not introduced in the most careful manner.  The wrong way to introduce any new tech it to talk about the tech, and not talk about how it makes people feel.
  4. The benefit of Facial Recognition for users (3 seconds on Tagging a Photo) is far out weighed by the creepyness factor.  In this case, I’d have left it in the box, and never introduced the feature.
  5. Test your new stuff with a group of real people.  You’ll find the creepyness crops up immediately when you test this stuff and that should be a great big warning flag for you.  It’s the first rule of Marketing, Test It.
  6. Somebody at Facebook HQ should put it on huge sign in the Marketing Department.


No adult supervision.  That’s what this boils down to, there is no one at Facebook who has the authority or balls to say, “Don’t do this Mark.”  So alas, we see Facebook constantly opening the door for a competitor to jump in and steal their market.  Eventually a competitor with the right combination of new features, coolness and marketing savvy will come along and take advantage of these constant opportunities and take it away from Facebook.

Give me 1 good reason why this Suggested Tagging feature should have been launched in the first place?


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Tags: Reasons For Net Marketing

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Nancy Passow // Jun 11, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Can’t think of a single good reason for launching this. And, even worse, that once again Facebook introduces something that invades people’s privacy and makes it a default opt-in, forcing us to go through the layers of privacy settings to opt-out. I think you nailed it though, Chris, — no adult supervision.

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