Facebook Puts An End to Its Facial Recognition System Following Backlash

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Facebook by Nghia Nguyen on Unsplash - Australian news
Facebook by Nghia Nguyen on Unsplash - Australian news

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) announced Tuesday that it will shut down its face recognition system. The decision followed major concerns from users and regulators.

The social media giant announced that it will delete over 1 billion people’s individual facial recognition templates from its database. However, the company defended itself saying that over 600 million accounts users had opted in to the use of the facial recognition technology willingly.

By ending the program, Facebook will not be able to recognize users’ faces in videos and photos. However, for blind and visually impaired users, the alt text technology that describes images won’t be functional anymore. According to Meta – the parent company of Facebook, the facial recognition system will be removed during the upcoming weeks.

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“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,” the company said in a blog post. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”

Meta’s decision follows major backlash

The move is a part of “a company-wide move away from this kind of broad identification,” the company said. Meta will keep on using the face recognition technology for identity verification to prevent impersonation, the company added. Meta will “continue to be public about intended use, how people can have control over these systems and their personal data.”