Facebook plans to shut down facial recognition systems for more than a billion users

If you’ve ever worried that an FBI agent on your phone is watching your every move, you no longer have to worry about them coming from Facebook! Facebook announced on Tuesday that it would shut down its face-recognition system and delete facial scans of more than 1 billion people.

“This change will represent one of the biggest changes in the use of face recognition in the history of technology,” said Jerome Present, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook’s new parent company. “More than one-third of Facebook’s daily active users have chosen and been able to recognize our face recognition settings, and removing them would result in the removal of the personal face recognition templates of more than a billion people.”

About 640 million Facebook users have chosen to use the social network’s face recognition system, and the presenter noted growing concern about the impact of facial-recognition technology on society. The use of face recognition software has sparked public controversy over how government agencies, law enforcement agencies and large corporations can misuse it.

“Every new technology brings the possibility of both benefits and concerns and we want to find the right balance,” he said.

Facebook previously reduced the use of another feature they introduced in December 2010 that uses facial-recognition software to automatically identify people in a user’s photo. Once a person’s profile is identified, users can tag their photos with just one click.

The company was sued for tag features and agreed to pay $ 650 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in Illinois. Opposition parties have stated that the site violates a state law that requires residents’ consent to use their biometric information, including “facial geometry.”

“Facebook is a significant moment of growing national discomfort with this technology coming out of the face recognition business,” said Adam Schwartz, a senior lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The corporate use of face surveillance is very dangerous for human privacy.”

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