Facebook and Facial Recognition

Source: The New York Times

Facebook has been making headlines all October long in lieu of leaked reports from former employee, Frances Haugen. On November 2nd, Facebook’s parent company, newly coined ‘meta’, announced that it would be terminating their decade old facial recognition software and all the data that came with it. Facebook may be cutting their losses with this elimination, as the technology has sparked many conversations about privacy concerns.

Vice President of Artificial Intelligence at Meta, Jerome Peseti, attributed the change to “many concerns about the place of facial recognition software in society because every new technology brings with it potential for both benefit and concern and we want to find the right balance.”

The introduction of this technology came in 2010 and satiated people’s obsession with time saving features. The application could automatically identify friends and family in photos using facial geometrics and link all the photos to their personal account. “Facebook now has built one of the largest repositories of digital photos in the world, partly thanks to this software.” Questions have come up in recent months, wondering what exactly Facebook is doing with all this information.

A decade later, and many are more concerned about their privacy being infringed upon then they are about saving time. Similar technologies have been recently misused in countries like China to control minorities. In the United States, the government employs this technology to help with policing, but many wonder if this feature is seamless enough to avoid problems such as mistaken arrests.  The algorithm used to make this feature possible is called DeepFace and has yet to be sold to any third parties. Despite all of this, Meta has not promised they won’t use this software in future products.


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