In the first week of November, Facebook announced in a blog post that it is planning to pull down shutters on its controversial facial recognition system. It came into existence a decade ago. The facial recognition software which millions of users opted for will be deleted for good. The rollout for the removal of this feature will be done globally and it is expected to be completed by December.
According to the Vice President of AI at Facebook, the growing uncertainty around this system is challenging. It has led them to decide that limiting the use of facial recognition is an appropriate step to take.
Keep reading more to learn what’s exactly happening with this shutdown.
- Over the next few weeks, Facebook will shut down the facial recognition system entirely. This decision is part of the initiative to limit the usage of facial recognition features in its products.
- Over its 10 years course, Facebook has faced scan data of more than a billion users. The shutdown will erase all of the data. It will no longer auto-detect people’s faces. This means netizens who went for the service will not receive any alerts when any photo or video of them shall be added to the platform.
- This shutdown will greatly influence the automatic alt-text technology. This is what the company utilises to generate image descriptions for visually impaired and blind people.
- According to the blog post by Jerome Pesenti, currently, automatic alt-text technology makes use of artificial intelligence. This is for identifying the people’s names who are in the photos. As the facial recognition system will no longer be a part of Facebook, the technology will only be able to detect. It will not show how many people are there in the photo.
- This decision has been sparked by the societal concerns that have surrounded this technology for a long time now.
How Does This Decision Matter?
This particular technology has garnered quite a few controversies. The growing privacy concerns from lawmakers and consumers have dragged the facial recognition feature under scrutiny and several investigations. Thus, it does have an impact on the decision.
In fact, many privacy experts have raised questions related to the ethical implications of the technology. Therefore, in many European markets, Facebook’s facial recognition tools have been drawn back several years ago. This was as per the requests made by privacy experts and regulators.
Moreover, in the year 2011, Facebook faced a lawsuit. This was because Facebook was in violation of EU and German data protection laws.
Now, this recent decision of facial recognition system shutdown comes right after a few months. This is just when Facebook settled in a $650m lawsuit. It was when the state of Illinois sued the company’s purported use of facial recognition software and unconsented collection of biometric data from users. The move to take down the company’s facial recognition feature came to light in less than a week. after Facebook decided to rebrand itself under the name Meta.
This decision of the company could help Facebook to achieve its goal of refreshing its public perception. This is crucial in light of recent scandals around the company.
Thus, let’s wait and see the impact and how people are reacting. Are you happy with it?