Menlo Park has announced plans to shut down the face recognition system on its main social network
Goal: measure number one. The attempt of the colossus of Menlo Park to clean up its image continues after the recent change of name (from Facebook to Meta): the first, and not trivial, real news concerns the Facial recognition.
According to what was announced on Tuesday by a note signed by the vice president of Artificial Intelligence Jerome Pesenti, the face recognition system in videos and photographs active on the social network Facebook will be shut down in the next few weeks. In practice, we will notice this above all because the platform will stop suggesting who to tag or notify us if we have been mentioned in a shot or in a video shared by someone who has not tagged us manually. Image descriptions for the blind or visually impaired will also change, because the technology will be able to recognize how many people are in a photo but will not try to identify them.
Meta undertakes to delete the biometric data already accumulated on more than a billion users. More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users had signed up, the note points out, referring to the opt-in mode introduced in 2019 around the world and in 2018 in Europe. Attention, therefore: the data seems to relate to those who three years ago explicitly agreed to have their face recognized and registered. Before 2019, the system introduced in 2010 was active by default worldwide for 1.66 billion people, with the exception of Europe (294 million) where it was shut down in 2012 and then returned with the consensus constraint in the 2018.
As mentioned, today’s stop represents the first concrete intervention of the newly renamed Meta to try to go beyond the scandals on the dissemination of inappropriate content and lack of respect for privacy and security. In doing so, moreover, Meta says it is aligned with the concerns of institutions, such as the one demonstrated by the European Parliament at the beginning of October or that of the American FTC, highlighted at the same time as the 2019 fine: Looking to the future, we still consider technology as a powerful tool. […] There are many concerns about the role of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still working to provide a clear set of rules governing its use, the note explains.
I use cases considered appropriate are services that help people access a locked account, identity verification in financial products and the ability to unlock a personal device. Meta will continue to work on this.
Speaking of future plans, it should be noted that, while turning off facial recognition on Facebook, Meta is working on augmented and virtual reality viewers capable of track and monitor eyes and faces.
November 2, 2021 (change November 3, 2021 | 09:10)
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