Facebook has made a major announcement, according to which, the platform will no longer be providing its facial recognition option to users. Along with that, it will delete all the facial recognition files, which means that people will no longer be identified in images and videos posted on Facebook.
According to Facebook, it is making this move to “limit the use of facial recognition” in its products. “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,” clarified the company.
This will be a significant change for Facebook, as its facial recognition feature has resulted in concern among privacy advocates over time. Not only that, but it has also costed the company hefty amounts of fines as a result of legal action taken towards its facial recognition systems.
Only in February, Facebook was charged with a $650 million fine in a class-action lawsuit in Illinois, based on its facial recognition process causing violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. The FTC also fined the company with $5 billion in 2019 over various privacy violations, one of the culprits being the facial recognition technology.
Facebook still believes in the positive power of its facial recognition systems, such as its ability to help visually impaired users. It also boasts that over time, more than a third of its daily active users have chosen to use its Face Recognition program.
Nevertheless, considering the costs and reputational damage that the technology has caused the company, Facebook has taken the decision to limit the system’s functionality across its services.