Kashmir Hill and Ryan Mac report:
Facebook plans to shut down its decade-old facial recognition system this month, deleting the face scan data of more than one billion users and effectively eliminating a feature that has fueled privacy concerns, government investigations, a class-action lawsuit and regulatory woes.
Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Meta, Facebook’s newly named parent company, said in a blog post on Tuesday that the social network was making the change because of “many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society.” He added that the company still saw the software as a powerful tool, but “every new technology brings with it potential for both benefit and concern, and we want to find the right balance.”
Read more on New York Times.
But also read: Don’t Go Cheering Facebook for Killing Its Face Recognition Database Just Yet by Shoshana Wodinsky. She writes, in part:
While Meta confirmed in an email to Gizmodo that it won’t be doing away with all its facial recognition tech across every property, the choice to pull it from its flagship social media app marks a dramatic shift for a company that’s been collecting our faces for more than a decade.
Read more on Gizmodo.
Update: And now there is more coverage warning people not to get too excited about Meta’s claims. Tristan Greene starts his piece:
Meta today announced updates to its facial recognition program that will have sweeping consequences for the Facebook platform — and not in a good way.
Meta? It’s still Facebook to me and this move just proves that a dumpster fire by any other name would still smell as sickly.
The company’s not stopping the use of facial recognition. Nor is it deleting facial recognition data for more than a billion users.
It’s deleting some very specific facial recognition templates — those used to automatically tag people in photos on Facebook. There’s nothing in the announcement today that would indicate it’s actually deleting the company’s image data or ceasing the use of facial recognition all-together.
Read more on TheNextWeb. There will be a lot more coverage — and much of it contradictory, perhaps, so stay tuned until everyone has a chance to really read the fine print and figure out what is really happening.