Facebook has announced that it plans on shutting down it’s facial scanning systems used throughout it’s app. It comes among fears that facial recognition technology has the potential for misuse, and potential societal concerns as well as regulatory uncertainty surrounding the technologies use.
The changes are planned to roll out over the coming weeks, and into December, and will involve the deletion of over 1 billion people’s individual facial recognition templates. More than a third of Facebook users have opted in to using facial recognition technology in their profiles, which assists with signing into the app, and tagging indiviuals in photos automatically.
Jerome Pesenti, Vice President of Facebooks newly named parent company Meta has said in a blog post “This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history,”
Mr Pesenti 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”.
The decision to shut down the facial recognition systems comes after the company faces a public relations scrutiny as well as legislative and regulator scrutiny after the release of The Facebook Papers. The papers identified the way the social network has prioritised financial gain over the safety of its users.