Facebook Closes Facial Recognition System and Wipes User Data

Facebook announced that it will shut down its facial recognition system that contains about 1 billion “faceprints” used for photo tagging amid increasing concerns about societal implications of the technology.

Meta, the rebranded owner of Facebook, announced on Nov. 2 that it will be limiting its use of facial recognition in their platforms. The “facial recognition templates” of more than 1 billion users who have opted for Facebook’s Face Recognition system will now be deleted.

“There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society,” said Meta’s vice president of artificial intelligence Jerome Pesenti. “Regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use.”

Pesenti said that while facial recognition technology is a powerful tool to verify identity, it is also prone to abuse. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate,” Pesenti added.

The announcement came as Facebook faces heavy scrutiny from governments and regulators around the world over the lack of user protection in its platforms.

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