Facebook stops facial recognition software
Facebook stops facial recognition software

Meta (formerly Facebook) has abandoned its facial recognition feature after a long battle for privacy. Meta said this change will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

As part of this, the company has stopped using facial recognition algorithms to distinguish people in photos and videos, and removed facial recognition models for recognition.

Jerome Bisenti, Vice President of Meta AI, said the change is part of a company-wide initiative to reduce the use of facial recognition in its products.

The move came after a lawsuit alleging that Facebook's tagging technology violated Illinois' biometric privacy law. This resulted in a $650 million settlement in February.

The company previously restricted facial recognition and made it a subscription feature in 2019.

In the future, we will continue to view facial recognition technology as a powerful tool, Bisenti wrote, pointing to features such as facial authentication.

"However, the many specific cases in which facial recognition is useful must be weighed against the growing concerns about the general use of the technology," he added.

Bisenti noted that regulatory authorities do not yet have to draft comprehensive regulations on data protection through facial recognition. Given the ongoing uncertainty, the company believes it is appropriate to limit facial recognition to a limited number of use cases.

According to Bisenti, more than a third of daily active Facebook users choose to check face recognition.

As part of the upcoming changes, more than a billion facial recognition accounts have been deleted. Facebook's automatic alt text system for blind users does not call up names while analyzing and synthesizing media.

When it appears in photos and videos posted by others, it no longer suggests people to tag photos or automatically notifies users.

Participation in the program since 2019

Facebook's move won't prevent independent companies like Clearview AI from using facial recognition algorithms trained on this data.

US law enforcement partners with Clearview AI and other facial recognition monitoring companies.

National or state data protection laws may be required to restrict the wider use of this technology.

By disabling features it has been using for years, Meta hopes to increase user confidence. This is in line with the desire to introduce virtual reality and augmented reality technologies that can threaten privacy.

Earlier this year, the company partnered with Ray-Ban to bring smart glasses with cameras to the market. It also gradually opens the 3D virtual world through the Meta VR headset.

These efforts require a certain level of trust from users and regulators. Not using facial recognition software is an easy way to build trust.

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