Apple's Scott Forstall talks about using Facebook at the Apple...

Apple's Scott Forstall talks about using Facebook at the Apple Developers Conference in San Francisco. (June 11, 2012) Credit: AP

Facebook Inc agreed to acquire Face.com, the company that currently provides facial-recognition technology used by the world's largest social network to help users identify and tag photos.

The deal bolsters one of Facebook's most popular features -- the sharing and handling of photos -- but the use of the startup's technology has spurred concerns about user privacy.

Responding to inquiries from U.S. and European privacy advocates, Facebook last year made it easier for users to opt out of its controversial facial-recognition technology for photographs, an effort to address concerns that it had violated consumers' privacy.

The technology scans newly uploaded photos, compares faces in those snapshots with previous pictures, then tries to match faces and suggest name tags. When a match is found, Facebook alerts the person uploading the photos and invites them to "tag," or identify, the person in the photo.

Neither Facebook nor Face.com disclosed terms of the deal.

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