Facebook (Meta) on Tuesday announced it will be putting an end to its face recognition system over the coming weeks. As consequence it will delete more than 1 billion people’s individual facial recognition templates. During time, the social network faced concern from both users and regulators even if over 640 million accounts had opted into the use of the face recognition technology. The change will also impact the automatic alt text technology that the company uses to describe images for people who are blind or visually impaired. „ (…) We believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate,” the company declared. Woodrow Hartzog, a law and computer science professor at Northeastern University, called the decision a “win” that shows the need for ongoing privacy advocacy and critiques of tech companies. Meta will still consider facial recognition technology for instances where people need to verify their identity or to prevent fraud and impersonation. In 2012, Facebook acquired Israeli start-up Face.com for reportedly under $100 million and employed a team of developers who focused on facial recognition for mobile appsa team of developers who focused on facial recognition for mobile apps.
The software could automatically recognize people in photos and videos posted on the social network. The technology has been shown to be less accurate when identifying people of color, and several Black men, at least, have been wrongfully arrested due to the use of facial recognition. in 2019, a US government study suggested facial recognition algorithms were far less accurate at identifying African-American and Asian faces compared to Caucasian faces. A few years ago, Facebook paid $550m (£421m) to a group of users in Illinois who argued its facial recognition tool was in violation of the state’s privacy laws. Last month, a former employee accused the company of unethical behaviour. Frances Haugen released a cache of internal documents which she said showed Facebook had put profit before user safety.