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Facebook rolls out tools to block unwanted friend requests

IANS
20th Dec 2017
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To prevent harassment on Facebook, the social media giant has introduced new tools that keep unwanted friend requests and messages from reaching you.

The new features proactively recognise and help prevent unwanted contact when someone you blocked sets up a new account or tries to contact you from another account they control, said Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook said in a statement on Tuesday.

The new tools also provide the users the option to ignore a Messenger conversation and automatically move it out of their inbox, without having to block the sender.

"Now, you can tap on a message to ignore the conversation. This disables notifications and moves the conversation from your inbox to your Filtered Messages folder," Davis said.

It enables the user to read messages in the conversation without the sender seeing if they have been read.

"This feature is now available for one on one conversations and will soon be available broadly for group messages, too," Davis added.

Facebook hopes that the new tools will be of immense use for women and journalists who disproportionately experience harassment on the social media platform.

As those who resort to harassment on social media often rely on fake accounts, Facebook said it is building on existing features that prevent fake and inauthentic accounts.

"These automated features help us identify fake accounts more quickly and block millions of them at registration every day," Davis said.

But what happens when a new account created by someone who was previously blocked does not get caught by these features?

"We are now using various signals (like an IP address) to help us proactively recognise this type of account and prevent its owner from sending a message or friend request to the person who blocked the original account," Davis said.

"The person who blocked the original account is in control, and must initiate contact with the new account in order for them to interact normally," she added.

New Facebook face recognition tools to help you manage identity

To help people better manage their identity on Facebook, the social media giant has launched new facial recognition features.

The new features will help you find photos that you're not tagged in and help you detect when others might be attempting to use your image as their profile picture.

"We want people to feel confident when they post pictures of themselves on Facebook so we'll soon begin using face recognition technology to let people know when someone else uploads a photo of them as their profile picture," Joaquin Quinonero Candela, Director, Applied Machine Learning, said in a blog post on Wednesday.

"We're also introducing a way for people who are visually impaired to know more about who is in the photos they encounter on Facebook," Candela added.

Soon, you will begin to see a simple on/off switch instead of settings for individual features that use face recognition technology.

"We designed this as an on/off switch because people gave us feedback that they prefer a simpler control than having to decide for every single feature using face recognition technology," the post read.

Since 2010, face recognition technology has helped bring people closer together on Facebook.

Facebook has introduced new features in most places, except in Canada and the EU where the company does not offer face recognition technology.

"You're in control of your image on Facebook and can make choices such as whether to tag yourself, leave yourself untagged, or reach out to the person who posted the photo if you have concerns about it," Candela added.

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