Facebook’s facial recognition system will be shut down and facial prints will be removed for more than a billion people, the social media giant said.
The technology automatically identifies users in images and videos, but Facebook decided to remove it, citing growing concerns about its use.
Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook, wrote in a blog post: “This change will represent one of the biggest changes in the use of facial recognition in the history of the technology.
“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 continuing uncertainty, we believe it is appropriate to limit the use of facial recognition to a small set of use cases.”
Facebook has been under the microscope in recent weeks after leaked documents from whistleblower Frances Haugen has shown that he is allegedly aware of the damage his products cause and often does little or nothing to alleviate it.
Ms Haugen, who worked at Facebook between 2018 and 2021, testified in Westminster to MPs scrutinize the Online Security Bill on October 25, a month after the publication of the documents disclosed by the Wall Street Journal.
Facial recognition is popular among businesses and hospitals for security purposes, but critics have said it could compromise privacy, target marginalized groups and standardize intrusive surveillance.
Facebook said more than a third of its users have opted for the facial recognition setting on its social media platform, but the change will remove templates for more than a billion people.
The tech giant added that its auto-text tool, which generates image descriptions for the visually impaired, will not include the names of recognized people in the images, but it will otherwise work normally.
The change will be rolled out globally and is expected to be completed by the end of the year, a spokesperson said.
The technology will now be limited to certain services, like helping people access their locked accounts or unlock a personal device, according to Facebook.
In 2019, Facebook stopped using the software to identify users’ friends in uploaded images and automatically suggested they “tag” them, while San Francisco became the first US city to ban the use of the technology. .
Facebook’s move follows Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, which last year ended or suspended the sale of facial recognition software to police over fears of false identifications.
This is the latest change on Facebook in recent days after announcing on October 28 that it would be change your company name to Meta.
The company changed its name to focus on building technology for the “metaverse“, which he sees as the next stage of the Internet.