Facebook announce it will be shutting down its Facial Recognition system on Facebook, meaning people who have opted in will no longer be automatically recognised in photos and videos.
This means Facebook will be deleting more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates and will also impact the Automatic Alt Text, which creates image descriptions for blind and visually-impaired people.
Facebook have said in its announcement: “We need to weigh the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules.”
This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history. More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted in to the Face Recognition setting; Facebook notes its value and success during this time.
However, the statement also recognises the problems: “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. 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.”