Facebook
Facebook's face recognition technology in use. Facebook

Facebook Inc on Tuesday said it would begin using facial recognition technology to alert people that a friend, or a friend of a friend, uploaded a photo of them, even if they haven't been tagged in the picture.

The new feature has already been rolled out to most of Facebook's more than 2 billion global users. Facebook users in Canada and the European Union are excluded. The social network doesn't use facial-recognition technology in those regions, due to wariness from privacy regulators.

It applies only to newly posted photos, and only those with privacy settings that make an image visible to you.

The idea behind the new offering is to offer better privacy settings for people who use the service.

Facebook said it also plans to use facial recognition technology to notify users if someone else uploads a photo of them as their profile picture. The service ensures that users can't impersonate someone else in their profile photo as Facebook tries to fight against so-called fake news.

"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," Facebook said in a statement.

Informing people of their existence is also good for Facebook: more notifications flying around means more activity from users and more ad impressions.