Monday, November 8, 2021

Facebook, But Not Meta, Ends Face Recognition

Juli Clover:

Facebook is shutting down its Face Recognition system and will delete the facial data of more than 1 billion of its users, Facebook parent company Meta announced this morning.

People who opted in to Face Recognition will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos, and their facial recognition templates will be deleted.

According to Facebook VP of Artificial Intelligence Jerome Pesenti, Facebook is making this change because it needs to weigh the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns” as regulators “have yet to provide clear rules.”

Kate Crawford:

So Facebook is deleting one billion facial recognition scans, but it’s keeping DeepFace, the model that is trained on all those faces.

I’m not sure whether this is accurate. To me, it sounded like they were deleting the model and training data but keeping the code, but I haven’t found anything definitive.

Nick Heer:

Pesenti says this will affect over a billion users, or about one-third Facebook’s user base. When it launched in 2010, users were opted into it by default; it took until 2019 for the company to require that users switch it on themselves.

Matt Wille (tweet):

But now, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has walked that promise back a bit. A lot, really.

Meta is not planning to hold back its use of facial recognition technology in its forthcoming metaverse products. Facebook’s new parent company told Recode that the social network’s commitment does not in any way apply to the metaverse. The metaverse will abide by its own rules, thank you very much. In fact, Meta spokesperson Jason Grosse says the company is already experimenting with different ways to bring biometrics into the metaverse equation.


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