Facebook to shut down face-recognition system and delete data

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Facebook has said it will shut down its face-recognition system and delete the faceprints of more than one billion people.

Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence for Facebook’s new parent company Meta, said in a blog post: “This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history.

“More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted in to our Face Recognition setting and are able to be recognised, and its removal will result in the deletion of more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates.”

He said the company was trying to weigh the positive use cases for the technology “against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules”.

Facebook had already been scaling back its use of facial recognition after introducing it more than a decade ago.

In 2019, the company ended its practice of using face recognition software to identify users’ friends in uploaded photos and automatically suggesting they “tag” them.

Facebook was sued in Illinois in the US over the tag suggestion feature.

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