Facebook to Delete Faceprints of 1B Users

Company is shutting down its facial-recognition system
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 2, 2021 12:47 PM CDT
Facebook Shutting Down Facial-Recognition System
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Facebook said Tuesday it will shut down its face-recognition system and delete the faceprints of more than 1 billion people, per the AP. The move comes as the company has come under intense scrutiny for causing harm with its technology. “This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history,” said a blog post from Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence for Facebook’s new parent company, Meta. “More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted in to our Face Recognition setting and are able to be recognized, and its removal will result in the deletion of more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates.”

He said the company was trying to weigh the positive use cases for the technology “against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules.” The setting’s removal will mean deleting more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates, Pesenti said. Facebook had already been scaling back its use of facial recognition after introducing it more than a decade ago. The company in 2019 ended its practice of using face-recognition software to identify users’ friends in uploaded photos and automatically suggesting they “tag” them. Facebook was sued in Illinois over the tag suggestion feature.

(Read more Facebook stories.)

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