Facebook will stop using the facial recognition system on its platform, and stored data to identify the faces of more than a billion people would be deleted. It is the first big announcement after the creation of the new parent company Meta.
Facebook facial recognition system was introduced in December 2010, and that is capable of identifying users in photos and videos. “There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use. Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.” — Jerome Pesenti, VP of AI at Facebook, described.
It wasn’t until March 2021, after years of legal proceedings, that Facebook had to pay $650 million to plaintiffs in a dispute over the use of facial recognition.
According to Facebook, a third of active users recently activated this function. People who would have opted for face recognition would no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos; the corresponding template for recognition would be deleted. Nothing will change for users who have not activated the function, as no facial recognition data would have to be deleted.
Other changes underway affect the Automatic Alt Text (AAT) tool, which creates image descriptions for the visually impaired and will no longer include the names of recognized people in photos after facial recognition is removed.
Ending the use of Facebook’s facial recognition system is part of the new strategy with Meta to achieve “a company-wide move away from this kind of broad identification, and toward narrower forms of personal authentication.”