Facebook has announced it will no longer use facial recognition software to identify faces in photographs and videos.it will delete more than 1 billion facial recognition templates it has collected over the years.
There have been growing concerns about the ethics of facial recognition technology with questions raised over privacy, racial bias and accuracy.
The company has been facing criticism over software’s impact on users. It was forced to turn off the feature in 2019 but users had an option of turning it back on.
“This change will also impact automatic alt text (AAT), which creates image description for blind and visually impaired people. After this change AAT descriptions will no longer include the names of people recognized in photos but will function normally otherwise” read a section of their blog post.
To date, more than a third of Facebook’s daily users could choose to opt into the feature which would scan their faces and notify them if someone else on the platform had posted a picture of them.
In 2020, Facebook settled a long running legal dispute about the way it scans and tags photos, much of politicians who have intensified scrutiny over data protection laws.
The chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had, however, said that the claims are just meant to paint a false picture of the company.
“Ending the use of our existing face recognition system means the services it enables will be removed over the coming weeks, as will the setting allowing people to opt into the system, every new technology brings with it potential for both benefit and concern and we want to find the right balance. We will continue engaging in that conversation and working with the civil society groups and regulators who are leading this discussion,” said Jerome Pesenti, VP of artificial intelligence.
The firm is still undergoing many changes, including changing company name to Meta, following a series of negative stories about Facebook.