After growing concerns and speculation from Facebook users and regulators, the parent company which is now called Meta has announced that it will be ending its facial recognition system. More specifically, Meta has said that it will remove the facial recognition templates for over 1 billion users on the network.
The company also stated that around a third of regularly active users on Facebook had already opted in using the face recognition technology and that these users will no longer have this option. “There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use,” Meta said in a statement. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”
Meta recently revealed its plan for virtual advancements that included consideration for facial recognition technology in an effort to combat fraud, but this seems to have been put on hold due to this news. The decision seems likely to come from a wave of reports over the course of October regarding a whistleblower releasing classified company data to media outlets and regulators.
These reports stated that Facebook has an awareness of many security breaches technology such as facial recognition may be susceptible to, yet does not make an honest effort to fix them despite concerns. Just last year, Facebook paid a $650 million dollar settlement after it came under a lawsuit regarding allegations of collecting and storing biometric data without getting consent from its users. With the move to halt the facial recognition program, it appears that Facebook is attempting to build transparency about its technology practices with its base of users.