Facebook Shutting Down Face Recognition

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On November 2, 2021, Meta – the mother or father group of Facebook – introduced plans to close down its Face Recognition system “as part of a company-wide move to limit the use of facial recognition in our products,” Meta Vice President of Artificial Intelligence Jerome Pesenti wrote in “An Update On Our Use of Face Recognition.”

“We’re shutting down the Face Recognition system on Facebook. People who’ve opted in will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos and we will delete more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates,” wrote Pesenti, including the change was one of many largest shifts in facial recognition utilization.

“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. Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate,” Pesenti wrote within the update.

Face Recognition is used to investigate images and movies containing Facebook customers to create a novel template. Ending the Face Recognition system means the providers it permits will likely be eliminated within the coming weeks, together with the setting permitting folks to decide into the system. Pesenti stated this may result in plenty of adjustments:

  • Our expertise will not mechanically acknowledge if folks’s faces seem in Memories, images, or movies.
  • People will not have the ability to activate face recognition for instructed tagging or see a instructed tag with their title in images and movies they might seem in. We’ll nonetheless encourage folks to tag posts manually, that can assist you and your mates know who’s in a photograph or video.
  • This change can even impression Automatic Alt Text (AAT), a expertise used to create picture descriptions for people who find themselves blind or visually impaired. AAT presently identifies folks in about 4% of images.
  • If you’ve gotten opted into our Face Recognition setting, we’ll delete the template used to establish you. If you’ve gotten the face recognition setting turned off, there is no such thing as a template to delete and there will likely be no change.

“Looking ahead, we still see facial recognition technology as a powerful tool, for example, for people needing to verify their identity or to prevent fraud and impersonation. We believe facial recognition can help for products like these with privacy, transparency, and control in place, so you decide if and how your face is used,” Pesenti wrote.

“Every new technology brings with it potential for both benefit and concern, and we want to find the right balance. In the case of facial recognition, its long-term role in society needs to be debated in the open, and among those who will be most impacted by it. We will continue engaging in that conversation,” Pesenti concluded.

In 2020, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed a report on “Facial Recognition Technology: Privacy and Accuracy Issues Related to Commercial Uses” that discovered companies can use facial recognition expertise (FRT) to confirm or establish folks and supply them with entry to buildings or on-line accounts.

However, the GAO report additionally revealed that advocacy teams have raised privateness and accuracy considerations with the usage of FRT such because the lack of anonymity, the dearth of consent, and the truth that FRT performs higher on males with lighter pores and skin and worse on ladies with darker pores and skin, which might result in misidentification or profiling.

“Facial recognition technology can verify or identify an individual from a facial image. Advocacy groups and others have raised privacy concerns related to private companies’ use of the technology, as well as concerns that higher error rates among some demographic groups could lead to disparate treatment,” the report acknowledged.

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