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Facebook's face-recognition system will be shut down in coming weeks

Facebook Metaverse
Posted at 10:55 AM, Nov 02, 2021

MENLO PARK, Calif. — The face-recognition system on Facebook will be shut down in the coming weeks.

Meta, the corporation formerly known as Facebook, made the announcement Tuesday and said it’s part of a company-wide move to limit the use of facial recognition in its products.

“There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use,” wrote Meta in its announcement. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”

As part of the change, Meta said people who have opted into its face-recognition setting will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos. The company said it will also delete the facial recognition template used to identify them.

More than a third of Facebook’s daily users have opted into the face-recognition setting and its removal will result in the deletion of more than 1 billion people’s “facial recognition templates,” the company said.

The change means Facebook users will no longer receive recommendations about who to tag in photos because that process utilizes the face-recognition system.

Meta says it still sees the technology as a powerful tool and will continue to develop it to do things like verifying people’s identities or preventing fraud.

“Every new technology brings with it potential for both benefit and concern, and we want to find the right balance,” wrote Meta. “In the case of facial recognition, its long-term role in society needs to be debated in the open, and among those who will be most impacted by it. We will continue engaging in that conversation and working with the civil society groups and regulators who are leading this discussion.”

The Facebook corporation rebranded itself as Meta last week. The company said it wants the name to reflect its focus on its virtual-reality vision for the future. Its main social media website will still be called Facebook.

These changes to the company also come amid scrutiny. A Facebook whistleblower recently came forward to speak out against the company. And a trove of documents called the Facebook Papers revealed the many ways the company ignored internal reports and warnings about how its social platforms have harmed people across the world.