Facebook Moments launch on hold in Europe

21st Jun 2015

Last week Facebook announced the launch of their stand-alone app Moments for Android and iOS users in the US.

The app aims to recognise your Facebook friends in the photos on your smartphone photo rolls and let you share them - privately - with the people in them. The idea is, photos from a Moment can be shared with everyone else who was there so you don't all need to line up your cameras to take the same shot or ask people to send you things later.

After watching a friend do a charity Race for Life the other day, I had to email her 20 photos. And I've still never seen the photos from my 30th Birthday Masquerade party which people said they'd send me. Moments would be the answer to that.

It does seem pretty cool (for those with a social life!). But it brings up the facial recognition issue again, which I first wrote about on my company's blog in 2011. Back then some bright spark at Facebook rolled out a way for Facebook to analyse the photos you uploaded and guess who was in them... really clever stuff that I bet they were (rightfully) very proud of, but also pretty scary from a privacy point of view and it met with a lot of complaints.

So now Moments, which is apparently pretty spot on with how it recognises and identifies people, won't be rolled out to Europe anytime soon because regulators have said it would need to have an "opt in" option; people need to be able to choose whether their faces are analysed when their Facebook friend uses the app. As of yet, the app doesn't have this feature and Facebook have said there's no timetable for development of it - meaning it's on pause indefinately for us this side of the pond.



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