How Facebook Photo Tags Work

By: Nathan Chandler

Tagging and Untagging Pictures for Facebook

With Tag Suggestion, you don’t even have to find the faces. Facebook automatically pinpoints human faces and prompts you to name them.
With Tag Suggestion, you don’t even have to find the faces. Facebook automatically pinpoints human faces and prompts you to name them.
Screenshot by Nathan Chandler

Photo tagging is a bit like a childhood game of tag. You race around in your image collection, tagging as many of your friends as quickly as possible. Only on Facebook, this isn't so much a game as it is a part-time job. That doesn't stop people from doing it. Photo tagging is hugely popular, at around 100 million new tags each day [SOURCE: Facebook].

After you upload a series of photos, Facebook loads the Edit Photos page. Here, you can type descriptions (captions) for each image, choose a photo for the album cover, delete individual images, move pictures to various albums, and of course, tag photos.


To tag an image, you simply click the person's face, and then begin typing his or her name. To expedite this task, Facebook begins guess what you're typing, which makes tagging go much more quickly.

If you use Tag Suggestions, your tagging job is even easier. After you upload a picture, Facebook immediately loads the Who's In These Photos? page, and highlights any faces that appear in the pictures. You simply begin typing the person's name, and if you're friends with that person on Facebook, the site auto-completes the name, not only for that picture, but for any others in which that person appears.

Tagging a friend sends them a notification so that they know there's a new image of them online. They also have the option of untagging the picture so that their account isn't associated with the image.

Of course, if the picture is embarrassing, they can't remove it – a major drawback to the public nature of Facebook. But by being nice to your friends and choosing to leave humiliating pictures offline to begin with, you'll keep a lot more friends and spare yourself from any acts of online (or perhaps offline) vengeance.

If a friend tags you in a photo and you want to remove the tag, you can. In your account profile, click photos, and scroll down to see the section titled Photos and Videos of You. Click a picture with you in it, and below the image, click Remove Tag.

When it comes to pictures of you, you may want to disable Tag Suggestions altogether. To do so, from the Account drop-down menu, click Privacy Settings, click Customize Settings. Go to Things Others Share and next to Suggest Photos of Me to Friends, click Edit Settings, and click Disabled.

Those are the fine points of using Tag Suggestions. On the next page, you'll read more about this technology that helps Facebook put names to faces.