Following the announcement of its name change to Meta, Facebook announced that its facial recognition system would be shut down. The social media behemoth has been a source of controversy when it comes to collecting user data, and this new move, according to the latest announcement, will force the deletion of over a billion user records.
Facebook Says the Decision Was Made Because the Company Needs to Weigh the Positives for Using Facial Recognition
The decision was made due to societal concerns about the facial recognition feature, according to the announcement. Furthermore, regulators have not established clear guidelines for how this technology will be applied. Users who have opted in to the facial recognition system will no longer be recognized in photos or videos as of right now. Their face recognition templates will be removed as well.
According to Facebook, more than a third of the social media platform’s daily active users have facial recognition turned on, so the decision was difficult to make. This does not, however, imply that the company has abandoned technology. Facebook, on the other hand, will continue to work on improving facial recognition iterations, which we will most likely hear about in the coming weeks.
In terms of the differences, the company has graciously provided a list of how the removal of facial recognition data will affect users’ experiences.
This will lead to a number of changes:
- Our technology will no longer automatically recognize if people’s faces appear in Memories, photos or videos.
- People will no longer be able to turn on face recognition for suggested tagging or see a suggested tag with their name in photos and videos they may appear in. We’ll still encourage people to tag posts manually, to help you and your friends know who is in a photo or video.
- This change will also impact Automatic Alt Text (AAT), a technology used to create image descriptions for people who are blind or visually impaired. AAT currently identifies people in about 4% of photos. After the change, AAT will still be able to recognize how many people are in a photo, but will no longer attempt to identify who each person is using facial recognition. Otherwise, AAT will continue to function normally, and we’ll work closely with the blind and visually impaired community on technologies to continually improve AAT. You can learn more about what these changes mean for people who use AAT on the Facebook Accessibility page.
- If you have opted into our Face Recognition setting, we will delete the template used to identify you. If you have the face recognition setting turned off, there is no template to delete and there will be no change.
Do you think shutting down facial recognition was the step in the right direction? Tell us down in the comments.