Facebook to shut down its facial recognition system; Here’s what that means

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Facebook (aka Meta) has officially announced that they are soon shutting down the facial recognition system within their app. This has been used in automatically identifying the people in photos and videos. You must have come across it whilst trying to tag your folks on a newly uploaded photo. Well, soon, that feature won’t be available owing to rising privacy concerns.

Although, the algorithm called DeepFace which powers it would still live on. So, what’s effectively changing is that once it’s gone, you will have to manually tag those other faces on your photo. You won’t be alerted when new photos or videos featuring you are uploaded on Facebook. Also, this removes an accessibility feature that allowed blind people to know who the people on the photos were.

“The process of creating a set of rules governing the use of face recognition by administrators is still underway. In the present situation of doubt or uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition is the right decision,” says Jerome Pesenti, VP, Artificial Intelligence, Facebook.

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Of late, the pervasiveness of this technology and the morality of its use have become a point of contention in the public discourse. Well, it’s not just Facebook, other tech giants like IBM involved in the sale of products related to facial recognition have stopped the same due to privacy concerns.

The announcement also comes at a time when the company has rebranded itself as Meta and Facebook, the OG social media app has become a subsidiary under the newly created parent. Some say the rationale behind such a move is to discount or divert the ire and accusations towards it in terms of data security and misuse.

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However, Mark and his company have been stating a broader vision behind the faux-metamorphosis. The removal of the auto facial recognition system too might be a part of these recent changes in the company. Anyhoo, the shutdown process should delete about a billion faceprints by December.

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