Meta to halt use of facial recognition technology on Facebook

facial recognition

Meta said last week that it will shut down the facial recognition system on Facebook as part of an overall initiative to limit the use of the technology in its products.

Face recognition technology, which automatically recognizes users in photos and videos, was shut down by Facebook Inc, citing rising societal concerns about the use of such technology.

In a blog post, Jerome Pesenti, Facebook’s vice president of artificial intelligence, stated that “regulators are still in the process of developing a clear set of rules controlling its use.” “Given the current state of ambiguity, we feel it is prudent to limit the usage of facial recognition to a limited set of scenarios.”

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Face recognition has been removed by the world’s largest social networking site, as the tech industry has faced a confrontation over the ethics of employing technology in recent years.

The announcement also comes at a time when Facebook has been under fire from regulators and lawmakers for user safety and a variety of other issues on its services.

More than one-third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted into the face recognition setting on the social media site, and the change will now delete the “facial recognition templates” of more than 1 billion people, according to the company, which rebranded itself Meta Platforms Inc last week.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, the removal will take place globally and will be completed by December.

The move was praised by privacy advocates and digital rights organizations.

After the elimination of facial recognition, Facebook’s automatic alt text feature, which provides image descriptions for visually challenged people, will no longer include the names of persons recognized in photos, but will otherwise function normally.

Face recognition technology is still a “strong tool” for identity verification, according to Facebook, which hasn’t ruled out employing it in other products.

The company’s facial recognition software has been under fire for a long time. When the US Federal Trade Commission penalized Facebook $5 billion in 2019 to settle privacy complaints, it named it among the issues it was concerned about.

A court in Illinois accepted Facebook’s $650 million settlement of a class action lawsuit alleging the company improperly gathered and kept users’ biometric data.

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