Facebook Shuts Down Facial Recognition Technology

Facebook says it is shutting down its facial recognition system.

Citing "growing societal concerns" about the technology that can automatically identify people in photos and videos, the company says it will continue to work on the technology to try to address issues.

"Regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use," Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook, said in a blog post. "Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate."

The move will delete the "facial recognition templates" of more than 1 billion people, Reuters reported. Facebook said that one-third of its daily active users opted into the technology.

The deletions should be done by December, the company said.

The company also said that a tool that creates audible descriptions of photos for the visually impaired will function normally, but will no longer include the names of people in photos.

Facebook, which rebranded itself as Meta last week, doesn't appear to be shutting the door permanently on facial recognition.

"Looking ahead, we still see facial recognition technology as a powerful tool, for example, for people needing to verify their identity or to prevent fraud and impersonation," the company wrote, adding it will "continue working on these technologies and engaging outside experts."

Source: Voice of America