Facebook is removing its facial recognition features, will delete associated data for...


Posts: 3,017   +590
What just happened? Facial recognition technology is more controversial now than ever. European Parliament recently pushed for a ban on the tech's use in public spaces, and organizations like the ACLU have long opposed the entire concept. Now, even Facebook is taking a step back from the tech: it will be disabling its facial recognition features and disabling face data for over 1 billion users.

Here's some context: before this change, Facebook allowed users to opt-in to facial recognition by toggling "on" the appropriate setting in their user preferences menu. Upon doing so, Facebook will scan the photos and videos you upload to search for your face and then create a "template" that it can use to enable additional functionality.

For example, the platform can let you know when you "appear in photos or videos but haven't been tagged," or even inform you when someone else attempts to create a Facebook profile using your likeness. The tech also serves a purpose for the blind or visually impaired, as it can describe photos to them audibly.

Regardless of all these apparent benefits, the social media giant is moving forward with this shutdown. All existing facial recognition templates will be scrubbed from its servers, and the features above are going to be disabled. Facebook insists these templates have never been shared with anyone but the user who opts-in.

As for Facebook's reasoning, this move is one born of pure pragmatism. The company can see which way the wind is blowing, and even notes in its blog post that there's "growing concern" about the use of facial recognition tech as a whole; even when it can benefit people.

"There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use," Facebook writes. "Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate."

Facebook doesn't specifically say that it intends to take advantage of those narrow use cases, but it gives examples like identity verification in financial products, unlocking personal devices, or helping people regain access to a locked (not necessarily Facebook) account.

The corporation will continue to explore ways it could implement this technology responsibly (and in compliance with potential law changes) in the future.

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Posts: 4,546   +6,843
The problem with facial recognition (or "facewreck", as I like to call it) is that once that data is obtained it can end up in almost anyone's hands. Facebook sells its data to almost everyone, or in markets controlled by repressive governments, gives it away to the authorities. That data is just a file and files can be accessed by hackers. The risks far outweigh any possible benefits. If the ONLY use of that info was to insure that people weren't impersonating you it might have merit, but ultimately how do you know who posted that picture first? Why, by providing all your personal information, of course. Its time to face the new reality: we need verified online identities (VOIs) in the form of unique registered "pen names" with associated avatars - online personas that are distinct but separate from our real-world ones. Ideally the database of VOIs would be managed by an independent private entity that the whole online industry would contribute technology to and run as a non-profit. A controlling body representing social media companies, privacy advocates and related concerns would make sure no one participant gained an unfair advantage through the use of this info. Tracking of VOis across sites would be strictly prohibited. Incidentally, OpenID was formed almost 20 years ago with similar goals but never really gained traction outside of AOL and the Mozillaverse. Perhaps its time to revisit that concept with updated purpose. No more "login with Facebook", Google or any other track-happy bunch of spies - your online identity would be there to insure the integrity of your virtual presence and nothing else.

Jack Deth

Posts: 67   +105
They should have said they will keep to combat "misinformation," since that's the popular dupe these days.


Posts: 144   +174
They can delete my facebook pictures if they like because none of them are of me. Anyone that actually puts their own picture online is completely bunkers and asking for their privacy to be taken away from them. All Fb has ever seen of me is pictures of cats and not my own of coarse random cartoonish pics from google search or which ever cartoonish pic I decide to put on my FB crap. but hey delete away FB I'm sure those kitty's in the pics won't care to much.

Then again who actually thinks they would delete any of this data anyways and With them doing the Meta verse and making the VR meta world I'm sure they will collect all that data back and then some. Yes in the Meta you are a cartoon (YAY) but the VR headset does actually have to see your face and feature to make that cartoon face in Meta World. LMAO

I only use FB to chat with family and friends and sell my unwanted crap and if this Meta world will need me to login to a VR world to do any of this and not allow the good ole fashioned text to type option any more I guess I will go back to to ole fashioned way of talking to these same people either on the phone or hey lets take a trip to Grandma's house kids we have not talked to her and Grampa in like 3 weeks online because Meta went crazy on us. Anyway these stories like these posted are always good for a bit of a laugh and a bit of joking around in the comments. Yea some of what I said I actually mean but some of it is also only in jest also. lol


Posts: 210   +123
I don't know when they had switched this to opt-in; when they introduced this, the description I recall was that OTHERS could flag when you were in some photo, and that was that, their creepy-*** system would start flagging you when you turned up in other photos, no opt-in whatsoever.

Of course, I expect what they'll do is keep virtually all the data and just say it's for modelling your head for their VR system rather than for facial recognition.


Posts: 2,033   +842
Did not take advantage of it and I try to steer clear of picture taking by family and friends less I get caught up. Even if you don't have social media accounts, you can still get caught up in the dragnet due to the activities of those around you, especially females. Always with their phones. Always taking pictures.🙄
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