FACEBOOK TUESDAY SAID it would stop using facial recognition technology to identify people in photos and videos and delete accompanying data on more than 1 billion people.
The news marks the end of one of the largest known facial recognition systems. Outside of face unlock for smartphones and applications in airports, Facebook’s auto tag is perhaps the most common form of facial recognition technology that people encounter. In a blog post, Facebook VP of artificial intelligence Jerome Pesenti said the decision reflected a “need to weigh the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns.”
Facebook has used a facial recognition system to automatically detect people in photos, videos, and Memories since 2010, drawing criticism from privacy advocates and hundreds and millions of dollars in fines from government regulators. A Facebook spokesperson told WIRED that billions of photos tagged with the assistance of facial recognition over the span of the past decade will keep those labels. Cues and signals gathered from photos and videos with facial recognition about a person’s social circle will also presumably remain intact.