Facebook Is Shutting Down Its Facial Recognition System

Facebook on Tuesday announced that it would be shutting down its Face Recognition system and will no longer automatically identify people in photos and videos.

“We need to weigh the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules,” said Jerome Pesenti, Facebook’s VP of artificial intelligence.

Facebook says that more than a third of its daily active users have opted in to the Face Recognition setting. As part of the change, more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates will be deleted from the company’s data systems.

The social network said that there were many practical applications for this system, including its automatic alt text system, which helps describe images of friends to blind or visually impaired individuals. In addition, the tool has been used to automatically notify users when they appear in photos or videos posted by others.

The company says it is still developing other facial recognition tools and is continuing to work on these technologies with expert guidance.

“Looking ahead, we still see facial recognition technology as a powerful tool, for example, for people needing to verify their identity, or to prevent fraud and impersonation,” Pesenti said. “We believe facial recognition can help for products like these with privacy, transparency and control in place, so you decide if and how your face is used.”

Facebook recently announced that it is changing its company name to Meta. Facebook, the social media app, will now fall under Meta’s family of apps that include Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus.

Learn more about CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitious plans for building out the metaverse here.
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