December 6, 2021


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Facebook announces the end of its facial recognition software

GettyImages-1236232035 |
Spain – 10/30/2021: In this photo illustration, the Meta logo is shown on a smartphone with the Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR, Workplace, Portal and Novi logos in the background. (Image illustration by Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is ending the use of facial recognition on its platforms. The feature, which has hundreds of millions of users signed up, has raised privacy concerns as well as multiple lawsuits.

Important facts

In a press release published on Tuesday, dead Announces the end of facial recognition on Facebook in the coming weeks as part of the company’s initiative to reduce the use of facial recognition in its products.

Facebook will remove face scans from More than a billion users. The social network will not automatically recognize people’s faces, so it will stop alerting people who have opted in to this feature when they upload a photo or video.

This change will also affect the automatic alt text technology that Facebook has developed to create image descriptions for its blind or visually impaired users.

According to the post, this technology currently uses artificial intelligence to recognize the names of people in photos, but without facial recognition, you will only be able to count the number of people who appear in the photo.

Vice President of Meta Artificial Intelligence, Jerome Bisenti He said the motives behind the move lie in societal concerns raised about facial recognition, “particularly since regulators have not yet established clear rules” regarding the technology.

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Pisenti added that companies still see technology as a powerful tool, but that’s the case “Every new technology brings with it both beneficial and troubling potential, and we want to find the right balance.”.

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According to the New-York Times, Facebook social networking site It plans to remove more than a billion facial recognition models in the coming weeks without erasing the algorithm that powers the software. Jason FatA Meta spokesperson told The Times that the company has not ruled out future use of the software. In the statement, Pesenti explained that the company will consider facial recognition technology in cases where its users need to verify their identity or in order to combat fraud and identity theft.

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main context

600 million. This roughly represents the number of accounts that opted for Facebook’s facial recognition service, the statement said.

While Meta claims to have used facial recognition only on Facebook without selling its data to other companies, privacy issues have revolved more around the use of images in recent years. Earlier this year, Facebook had to pay 650 million dollars Following a class action lawsuit accusing the company of collecting and storing biometric data of its users without their prior consent. Work prohibited by the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. The Federal Trade Commission The FTC also imposed a fine of 5 billion dollars for the company in 2019 that had to solve privacy issues including facial recognition software.

additional information

last week, Mark Zuckerberg The Facebook CEO renamed it Meta during a keynote speech. The social network at the time was in the grip of careful public scrutiny after whistleblower convictions and the disclosure of thousands of documents by Facebook’s former product manager, Frances Hogan.

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Zuckerberg said he’s looking to shift resources toward building a “metaverse,” a shared online world where people can go to work, play games and attend concerts, all connected to augmented and virtual reality.

Article translated from the American magazine Forbes – author: Anna Kaplan

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