Facebook Says It Will Shut Down Facial Recognition System

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In what whitethorn beryllium the eventual about-face, Facebook said Tuesday it volition delete the look scan information of much than a cardinal radical ― and unopen down its facial designation programme entirely.

The societal media institution has agelong utilized facial designation bundle to automatically place radical successful photos and videos, past punctual users to tag those identified. Following Tuesday’s announcement, that diagnostic volition beryllium shuttered.

The determination volition besides impact automatic alt text, oregon AAT, a exertion that creates representation descriptions for unsighted and visually impaired people. Moving forward, AAT volition nary longer effort to place radical successful photos but should different relation normally, Facebook said.

Some constricted uses for facial designation volition besides remain.

Jerome Pesenti, Facebook’s vice president for artificial intelligence, said users mightiness inactive usage the exertion to summation entree to a locked account, for instance, oregon to verify their individuality to entree delicate fiscal information.

“These are places wherever facial designation is some broadly invaluable to radical and socially acceptable, erstwhile deployed with care,” Pesenti said successful a blog post discussing the decision.

A spokesperson told HuffPost determination was nary 1 crushed down the timing of the decision, which comes astatine a turbulent clip for the company. Facebook has been rocked by damaging revelations implicit the past period pursuing the merchandise of thousands of documents by erstwhile Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen.

Facebook rebranded itself arsenic Meta past week and announced a dense pivot to virtual reality, successful what critics contend is an effort to deflect attraction from the leaks.

Tuesday’s announcement lone affects Facebook, which means different Meta products, similar Instagram, may inactive use facial designation software.

In 2019, Facebook turned its facial designation exertion “off” by default, requiring users to explicitly opt in, aft the institution failed to get a class-action suit dismissed accusing it of illegally collecting and storing biometric data.

“This biometric information is truthful delicate that if it is compromised, determination is simply nary recourse,” Shawn Williams, a lawyer for plaintiffs successful the people enactment suit, said astatine the time. “It’s not similar a Social Security paper oregon recognition paper fig wherever you tin alteration the number. You can’t alteration your face.”

More than a 3rd of Facebook’s regular progressive users proceeded to opt in, the institution said. The institution settled the lawsuit for $650 cardinal earlier this year.

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