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Facebook to shut down its face recognition program, will delete face data of billions of users

By Sanuj Bhatia November 3, 2021, 1:31 am
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Facebook, the company which recently changed its name to ‘Meta,’ has announced that it’s shutting down its Facebook’s face recognition program — the technology that automatically recognizes users in photos and videos. The move comes after Facebook’s long legal battle, and now the company has decided to shut down the program.

Facebook AI’s vice president, Jerome Pesenti, on the shut of face recognition system said that the “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.”

Facebook allowed users to auto-tag people in a photo when they uploaded the picture to the social media platform. Facebook would recognize the faces of people in the photo, but following a $650 million settlement in February this year, the company made it an opt-in feature. Though Pesenti still says that Facebook still “sees” facial recognition technology as a powerful tool.

The company says that nearly one-third of the billions of people using the social media platform had opted-in. However, as a part of the change, Facebook will delete face recognition profiles of billions of users. In addition, Facebook’s automated alt-text technology – the system which automatically summarized the scene for blind users in a single sentence – will no longer “name people” when generating a summary.

Facebook says that the long-term role [of technologies like face recognition] in society needs to be debated in the open, “among those who will be most impacted by it.” The company says that it will “continue engaging in that conversation and working with the civil society groups and regulators who are leading this discussion.”

In a statement to Reuters, a Facebook spokesperson said that the current face recognition data of users will be deleted from its system by December 2021.

Source: Facebook Blog

Via: The Verge, Reuters

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