Facebook Retires Facial Recognition Program Amid Swirling Controversies Surrounding the Company’s Business Practices

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This is probably a good move from multiple perspectives but it looks like Facebook is saying “goodbye” to its facial recognition system used in tagging photos.

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Photo by NeONBRAND

In a blog post announcing the change, Facebook noted that “people who have opted in to our Face Recognition setting will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos, and we will delete the facial recognition template used to identify them.”

Going on to explain how this is a huge change for the platform, VP of Artificial Intelligence Jerome Pesenti details how this will impact the company moving forward.

“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. We will continue working on these technologies and engaging outside experts.”

According to the blog post, approximately one-third of all of Facebook’s users opted in to the program. Their data will be deleted as part of this move and features associated with it such as automatic facial recognition and alt text will also no longer function.

The blog post then goes on to detail the social concerns and privacy issues surrounding facial recognition technology as well as its potential benefits. Indeed, it is as much an acknowledgment of the company’s need to delicately thread the needle in this area as it is anything else.

But there’s also the whole litany of problems surrounding Facebook right now, not least among which are whistleblower reports about how it monetizes activity and hypes up messages that probably shouldn’t be.

Heck, there’s even a whole human trafficking thing going on that we reported on a little while back.

While Instagram has retreated from its planned app for kids, the company as a whole is pivoting more towards video, photography, as well as AR and VR which means that Facebook will continue to be a huge presence in our field for some time.

Maybe that’s why the company recently changed its name? To distinguish its past from its media-based future?

What do you think of facial recognition cameras and software? A good tool in the right hands or a societal evil that should be avoided? Let us know what you think about facial recognition tech in the comments below.

Check out some of our other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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