Meta will shut down Facebook’s Face Recognition program

Meta will shut down Facebook’s Face Recognition program


03 November 2021

Meta has revealed its plans to shut down Facebook's facial recognition system. Facebook's services that rely on the face recognition systems will be removed over the coming weeks and the company said that it will stop using facial recognition algorithms to tag people in pictures and videos, and it will delete the facial recognition templates as a result of this change.

Jerome Pesenti, VP of artificial intelligence at Meta, described the change as part of a "company-wide initiative to limit the usage of face recognition in our products." It should be mentioned that in July 2020 Facebook agreed to pay $650 million after being sued for collecting and keeping biometric data without first getting user consent, which is forbidden by law in Illinois.

Looking ahead, we still see facial recognition technology as a powerful tool. But the many specific instances where facial recognition can be helpful need to be weighed against growing concerns about the use of this technology as a whole. Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate”, Pesenti said.

According to Pesenti, more than one-third of Facebook's daily active users have opted into Facial Recognition scanning, and the upcoming update would remove over a billion face recognition profiles. The change, however, will also impact the automatic alt text technology that the company uses to describe images for people who are blind or visually impaired.

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