Facebook Inc founded by Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that it will be shutting down its facial recognition system, which automatically identifies users in photos and videos, citing growing societal concerns about the use of such technology.
“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, wrote 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.”
Facebook was one of the first companies to deploy face recognition at scale. Today @meta is announcing that it is turning it off. #ResponsibleAI is often deciding when to use, or in this case, not to use, AI. https://t.co/bPiUCpIT8G
— Jerome Pesenti (@an_open_mind) November 2, 2021
Face recognition technology, which is widely used for security purposes by merchants, hospitals, and other enterprises, has been criticised by critics as potentially compromising privacy, targeting marginalised groups, and normalising intrusive surveillance.
The announcement also comes at a time when Facebook has been under fire from regulators and lawmakers for user safety and a variety of other issues on its services.
More than 40% of Facebook’s daily active users have opted for the famous AI tool i.e; face recognition setting on the social media website, according to the tech giant, which renamed itself Meta Platforms Inc last week. The change will now disable the “facial recognition templates” of more than 1 billion people.
According to a Facebook spokeswoman, the removal process will be taking place globally and will be completed by December.
After rolling out the feature of facial recognition, Facebook’s automatic alt text feature, which aims to provide image descriptions for visually challenged people, will no longer be including the names of persons recognised in photos, but will otherwise function normally.