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Facebook rolls out new facial recognition, anti-harassment tools

Facebook Inc. is stepping up efforts to ensure online security by launching new tools that will help users combat harassment as well as manage their online identities.

The tech giant is extending its face recognition technology to help users detect photos where they are not tagged in, as well as detect other users who are trying to use their images as profile pictures, Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Facebook's director of applied machine learning, said in a statement.

Facebook has introduced a single on/off control to enable facial recognition, which will help people in deciding to use the feature without "potentially confusing options."

Also, the social networking platform's face recognition tool will now be able to help visually impaired users with screen readers to know the people in the photos they encounter on Facebook.

The new features, which were developed in response to feedback from Facebook users, will be accessible in all countries except Canada and the European Union where face recognition technology is currently not available.

Meanwhile, Facebook's automated anti-harassment features will allow users to proactively recognize and prevent unwanted friend requests and messages, especially those from blocked users who set up a new account or try to reach out from a different account they control.

Facebook account owners will also now be able to ignore a conversation on Facebook Messenger and move it to the Filtered Messages folder from the inbox, without having to block the sender.