Facebook Claims It Will Shut Down Facial Recognition System, Delete Billions of Face Scans

FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2016, file photo, Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook, speaks at the CEO summit during the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Lima, Peru. Zuckerberg unveiled his new artificial intelligence assistant named "Jarvis" in a Facebook post on Dec. 19, 2016. …
AP Photo/Esteban Felix

Tech giant Facebook, which has changed its name to “Meta,” recently claimed that it plans to shut down its facial recognition system this month and delete all of the face scan data of over one billion users it has collected from users for over a decade.

The New York Times reports that tech giant Facebook plans to shut down its facial recognition system, deleting the face scan data of over one billion users that has been collected over the past decade. The deletion of the system appears to signify a fresh start for Facebook which was recently rebranded as “Meta.”

Mark Zuckerberg introduces Meta (Facebook)

Jerome Pesenti, the vice president of artificial intelligence at Meta (now Facebook’s parent company) stated in a blog post that the social network chose to end the system due to “many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society.” Pesenti added that Facebook saw the system as a powerful tool, but “every new technology brings with it potential for both benefit and concern, and we want to find the right balance.”

Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Facebook first launched its facial recognition system in December 2010, offering to help users save time by automatically identifying and tagging their friends in uploaded photos. As a result, Facebook has built one of the largest repositories of digital photos in existence.

Facial recognition technology has come under scrutiny from privacy advocates due to its possible misuse. In China, authorities use facial recognition systems to track Uyghur Muslims, while in the United States law enforcement has used the technology to aid policing which has resulted in privacy issues and mistaken arrests.

Facebook’s data was not sold to third parties but many still questioned the ethics behind collecting such a vast amount of personal data. When Facebook was fined $5 billion to settle privacy complications in 2019, the company’s facial recognition tech was raised as an issue. Last year, Facebook paid $650 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in Illinois that accused the social media giant of violating a state law requiring residents’ consent to use their biometric information.

Read more at the New York Times here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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