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Meta Platforms to End Facebook’s Facial Recognition

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Meta Platforms to End Facebook's Facial Recognition

Meta Platforms has announced Tuesday it is shutting down Facebook’s facial recognition system and deleting over a billion face prints. The announcement comes as a response to public concerns over privacy.

Facebook is presently battling an internal crisis with thousands of internal documents leaked to the media, US lawmakers and regulators.

“There are security concerns over facial recognition technology in our society, and US regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use. Due to this uncertainty, Facebook will be shutting down its facial recognition system, Meta said in a statement.

The decision shuts down a feature in Facebook that automatically identified people who appeared in users’ photos. This feature was key to the tech giant building a sprawling, global library of people’s faces.

The feature was highly controversial and became the target of regulators, lawsuits and lawmakers in the US.

Shutting down the facial recognition system will result in the deletion of more than a billion individual facial recognition templates, Meta said.

About Facebooks Facial recognition system

Facebook’s facial recognition system was launched in 2010 and went through many changes to tighten privacy. However, the recognition system was central to a significant lawsuit.

In 2020 Facebook agreed to a $650 million payout after failing to win dismissal of a lawsuit alleging it illegally collected biometric information for “face tagging” in violation of privacy laws in the state of Illinois.

The case was one of the largest settlements in a US privacy case. However, it was topped by Facebook’s $5 billion deal with the Federal Trade Commission on its data use practices. Both settlements are awaiting court approval.

Many US cities including San Francisco have legislated bans on the use of facial recognition technology. There are concerns over creating large databases with the potential for errors in identifying individuals.

As Facebook battles a whistleblower crisis, it has also changed its parent company name to Meta. Critics believe the name change is an effort of the tech giant to move past being a scandal-plagued social media network and moving to its metaverse virtual reality vision for the future.

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have kept their names under Meta Platforms.

Meta Platforms has been pushing back hard against leaked reports by former employee Frances Haugen. The Government want more control over Facebook and many free speech activists believe the leaks are linked to the Democrat parties efforts to stifle free speech.

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