Face Recognition on Facebook is being phased out after a decade of use. Facebook has announced that it will discontinue its Facial Recognition System and delete the templates of over 1 billion people saved by this feature. This is a significant change, but contrary to popular belief, the social network will not abandon facial recognition entirely because it sees it as a “powerful tool” for users who need to prevent impersonation and fraud, according to the company’s vice president of AI, Jérôme Pesenti.
In a blog post, Meta’s VP of Artificial Intelligence, Jerome Pesenti, announced the update. He writes that the “long-term role of facial recognition in society must be debated openly, and among those who will be most impacted by it.”
“We believe facial recognition can help for products like these with privacy, transparency, and control in place, so you decide if and how your face is used. We will continue working on these technologies and engaging outside experts.”
Face recognition on Facebook has sparked heated debates and privacy concerns among users. Many privacy advocates have expressed concern about the massive amounts of data collected by Facebook for facial recognition. According to Facebook’s blog, the company has individual facial recognition templates for over a billion people. While this is a step toward greater privacy on the platform, it may have an impact on how some users use Facebook.
What Impact Will Facebook’s Face Recognition Change Have on You?
Facebook’s facial recognition technology recognizes people in images and suggests tags. If you sign up for Facebook’s facial recognition, you’ll be notified if you appear in someone’s photo, whether or not they tag you. So, for starters, Facebook will no longer suggest people tag based on facial recognition.
Furthermore, the change will have an impact on visually impaired users. Face recognition generates image descriptions known as automatic alt text (AATs) that allow blind users to identify who is in the images. There will be no more AATs with people’s names now that the feature has been disabled.
Facebook has recently gotten into a lot of trouble due to its use of face recognition. In 2019, the FTC imposed a $5 billion fine on the company for violating user privacy. This penalty was imposed because of facial recognition, and Facebook was asked to provide “clear and conspicuous notice” of its use. The FTC also directed Facebook to obtain explicit user consent before using the data in any way.
The company was fined $650 million in February 2021 as a result of the feature. This was due to Facebook’s failure to obtain user consent before employing facial recognition technology. As a result, the company has terminated the program entirely and is now waiting for clear rules and regulations governing facial data.