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Facebook announced today that they will no longer use the Face Recognition system on their platform and will be deleting over 1 billion people’s facial recognition profiles.
Facebook’s Face Recognition system analyzes photos taken of tagged users and associated users’ profile photos to build a unique identifier or template. This template is then used to identify users in uploaded photos or automatically tag people in Memories.
Now, a week after their rebranding as Meta, Facebook has announced that they are doing away with the Face Recognition feature and deleting all profile templates created by the system.
“But the many specific instances where facial recognition can be helpful need to be weighed against growing concerns about the use of this technology as a whole,” said Jerome Pesenti, VP of Artificial Intelligence, in an announcement published today.
“There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use.”
“Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”
Some of these concerns have been significant for Facebook, which recently made a $650 million settlement in a lawsuit with Illinois claiming Facebook collected and stored the biometric data of Facebook users without consent.
While this change will be seen as a victory for privacy advocates, it will come with some tradeoffs, as more than a third of Facebook’s daily users have opted into and use the Face Recognition feature.
Some of the Facebook features that will no longer work as expected include:
Facebook says they will be shutting down their Face Recognition system and deleting the user templates in the coming weeks.
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That’s a win, it would be better if they had never created the monster though.
There’s no stuffing that code back in the bottle, it exists and will no doubt be used again by some organization, quite possibly covertly by governments.
If you believe they are going to really delete their data or stop using it…i have some stuff to sell you…
Shouldn’t the headline use the future tense for delete because Facebook hasn’t yet deleted the data? Something like, “Facebook to delete 1 billion…” or “Facebook promises to delete….”

Facebook is notorious for failing to follow through on its promises involving user privacy.

Who’d be surprised if before deleting the data they sell or give it to another entity that’s technically not part of Facebook, like Cambridge Analytica or some new LLC, so the data is off Facebook’s computers but still accessible for them for free or a $1/year.

Facebook’s 15-year apology tour hasn’t ended yet.
Yes, title fixed.
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