Facebook the internet giant which is newly rebranded as Meta announced on Tuesday that it is planning to shut down its face recognition system ,a technology it had introduced back in 2010 on its social media site Facebook .
“This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history ,” Jerome Pesenti , vice president of artificial intelligence for facebook’s new parent company , Meta wrote on a blogpost on Tuesday .
“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,” parent company Meta said in a statement.
Facebook has built possibly the world’s largest repository of digital photos anywhere in the world, and the corresponding facial recognition algorithms at work all these years give it precise data of who is who.
The feature was first introduced in December 2010, and it automatically suggested tags for people in photos uploaded on Facebook. In 2019, Facebook switched the feature to opt-in. Earlier this year, Facebook paid $650 million in settlement for a lawsuit that said the company’s face recognition algorithms violated the biometric privacy law in the US state of Illinois.
Meta has said over a third of its daily active users opted to enable the face recognition setting and were able to be recognised. It has not said it will delete more than a billion individual facial recognition templates.
Meta’s decision does not change what independent companies such as Clearview AI and others can continue to do: scrape photos and videos off the internet including social media platforms to develop and train their own facial recognition algorithms. Clearview AI claims to be the world’s largest facial recognition platform and has a database of over three million images indexed from the internet.