Facebook has announced that it will shut down its Facial Recognition System and delete the templates of over 1 billion people stored by this feature. This is a significant change, but contrary to popular perception, the social network won’t be forgoing the technology in its entirety because it regards facial recognition as a “powerful tool” for users needing to prevent impersonation and fraud, the company’s vice president of AI, Jérôme Pesenti, explained.
“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.”
A Costly Experiment
The facial recognition feature was introduced by Facebook in 2010 to make photo sharing user-friendly for people. It allowed Facebook users to tag their contacts in photos automatically.
However, the feature has been receiving criticism soon after its launching. Not only was it hammered by the privacy advocates, but it also received lawsuits and fines costing Facebook millions of dollars.
In 2015, Illinois state residents filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook/Meta to disable the Tag Suggestions feature as it violates the state’s law. Facebook settled the