Facebook will shut down its facial recognition system amid growing concerns

Facebook announced it will shut down face recognition technology amid concerns about how it's used.

Facebook will shut down its facial recognition system amid growing concerns

Facebook has announced it will shut down its face recognition technology amid increased concerns about how it’s used. The tech automatically identifies the user in snaps and videos and is popular amongst Facebook users. 

Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook, wrote in a blog post: “This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history.

“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 ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”

Facebook is attempting to clean up its image after being under the microscope in recent weeks following leaked documents from whistleblower Frances Haugen that showed it allegedly had known about the harms its products cause and did little or nothing to mitigate them. 

Whilst facial recognition is popular among businesses for security purposes, critics say it could compromise privacy, target marginalised groups and normalise intrusive surveillance. 

More than a third of Facebook users have opted into the face recognition setting on the platform, but the change will delete templates for more than one billion people. 

Facebook added that its automatic text tool, which generates image descriptions for visually impaired people, won’t include the names of people recognised in images, but it will otherwise function normally.

The technology will now be limited to certain services such as helping people gain access to their locked accounts or unlock a personal device, according to Facebook.

The change will be rolled out globally and is set to be complete by the end of the year, a spokesperson said.

This is the latest change following the announcement Facebook would be changing its name to Meta. 

The rebrand is designed to focus on building technology for the “metaverse”, which Facebook sees as the next stage of the internet.

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