Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Facebook officially shuts down its facial-recognition system with billions of user data now being deleted

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Facebook and its associate social media giants are now Meta, the name has been officially changed and with the announcement of changing its name to Meta, comes another major announcement from Facebook. And it’s that the social media tech giant will be soon shutting down its facial recognition system.

The social media giant has been the subject of controversy when it comes to collecting user data, and according to its latest announcement, if the company shuts down its facial recognition system then it will be deleting user data crossing over a billion.

The company officials have stated that the decision was taken as the facial recognition feature was facing societal concerns. Worldwide regulators are yet to state any clear rules as to how this advanced technology will be used so as of right now, users who opted into the facial recognition system will no longer be recognized in photos or videos. The company also reported that they will be deleting already registered users’ facial recognition templates.

Facebook stated that more than a third of its platform’s daily active users had facial recognition enabled, hence this decision was made after a lot of consideration towards regulations and users privacy and data collection.

However, this announcement in no way means that the company is giving up on the technology. It’s the exact opposite actually as Facebook announced that it plans to continue its work on improving iterations of facial recognition, which we will likely hear about in the coming weeks.

As for the differences, the company has been kind to provide a list as to how the deletion of facial recognition data will affect the experience for users.

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This will lead to several changes:

  • Our technology will no longer automatically recognize if people’s faces appear in Memories, photos, or videos.
  • People will no longer be able to turn on face recognition for suggested tagging or see a suggested tag with their name in photos and videos they may appear in. We’ll still encourage people to tag posts manually, to help you and your friends know who is in a photo or video.
  • This change will also impact Automatic Alt Text (AAT), a technology used to create image descriptions for people who are blind or visually impaired. AAT currently identifies people in about 4% of photos. After the change, AAT will still be able to recognize how many people are in a photo, but will no longer attempt to identify who each person is using facial recognition. Otherwise, AAT will continue to function normally, and we’ll work closely with the blind and visually impaired community on technologies to continually improve AAT. You can learn more about what these changes mean for people who use AAT on the Facebook Accessibility page.
  • If you have opted in to our Face Recognition setting, we will delete the template used to identify you. If you have the face recognition setting turned off, there is no template to delete and there will be no change.


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Avatar of Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.


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