After Frances Haugen made a bombshell revelation about Facebook’s practices, the company has taken a number of steps to further change its way of operation and one of them includes the deletion of “faceprints” of more than 1 billion users on the platform.
The company said it will be shutting down its facial recognition system due to numerous concerns about the system.
The Facebook facial recognition system works by auto-detecting users in photo or video and letting the user know if another user has posted a photo or video of them – assuming they’ve opted for the feature.
While that seems simple, there are some complications to the system and how the data that’s being collected is used.
Due to the current issues the company is facing, its parent company, Meta announced that it will be shutting down the system and deleting as many as 1 billion facial recognition templates it has in its possession.
Meta’s vice-president of artificial intelligence, Jerome Pesenti, said the technology had helped visually impaired and blind users identify their friends in images and can help prevent fraud and impersonation. But Pesenti said the advantages needed to be weighed against “growing concerns about the use of this technology as a whole”.
“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,” he said. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”
However, those who have opted for the face recognition system in their account setting will have their faceprints deleted and those who don’t have the system enabled for their profile don’t have a faceprint and there’s apparently nothing to delete.
Pesenti said Facebook will encourage users to tag posts manually.
Meta faced a huge US class-action lawsuit last year which was brought by users who claimed the firm had created and stored their faces without permission.
The company was hit with an order to pay a huge US$650 million fine. But that isn’t the first time Facebook will face issues with its face recognition technology.
One of such includes its withdrawal in EU back in 2012 due to the fact that there was no provision made to gain user consent.