Just a few days after the tech giant rebranded to Meta, it has announced the shut down of its face recognition system which automatically identifies users in photos and videos due to growing concerns over the use of the system.
Over the past few years, Facebook has been faced with several ethical issues over the use of the recognition system and it comes as no surprise that they are shutting it down. The tech giant has also been under scrutiny over privacy and data-related issues as well as cyberbullying and abuse that happens on the platform.
In 2019, the U.S Federal Trade Commission included issues with the facial recognition system coupled with other privacy concerns when it fined Facebook $5 billion to settle the privacy complaints.
Earlier this year in a class-action suit in Illinois in the United States, Facebook was ordered to pay $650 million over allegations that the company collected and stored biometric data of its users without the proper consent.
The company has suffered a number of lawsuits over privacy issues and this new development might just reduce the intense scrutiny. This is the perks of being the largest social media platform in the world.
Facebook shuts down face recognition system: what does it mean?
Facebook also said that it will delete more than a billion people’s facial recognition templates on its platform. Facebook is the largest social media platform with more than 2.5 billion active users every month in the third quarter of 2021.
This development will also affect the AAT (Automatic Alt Text tool) which creates image descriptions for visually impaired people. The tool will no longer display the names of people in photos and videos.
According to Meta, regulators are yet to give rules concerning the use of facial recognition and hence it needs to review the positive use of its tool.
Users had the option to be automatically notified by Facebook whenever they appeared in photos and videos posted by other users or their friends, this feature will no longer hold as it was supported by the facial recognition system.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, the removal will be rolled out globally and is expected to be complete by December.