Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced Tuesday it will shutter its facial recognition program and erase the face scan data of over a billion people. The internet giant uses the technology to identify faces in photos and videos, allowing users to tag another person.
“No Reason For The Timing”
As reported by HuffPost, the decision will also impact automatic alt text (AAT), which creates image descriptions for blind and visually impaired people. The company asserted that AAT will no longer try to recognize people in photos but would otherwise function conventionally.
However, users can continue using the technology to unlock their accounts or to validate their identity to access sensitive financial data, Jerome Pesenti, Facebook’s vice president for artificial intelligence, said.
“These are places where facial recognition is both broadly valuable to people and socially acceptable, when deployed with care,” he added in a blog post.
A Facebook spokesperson told HuffPost “there was no one reason” triggering the decision at this time, precisely when the company faces the scrutiny of regulators and the public alike.
“Zuckerberg Should Step Down”
Facebook has been under blazing fire during the last month after ex-employee Frances Haugen’s revelations about the company, accusing it of disregarding internal research about the impact of its applications on users, and prioritizing money.
Last week, the company officially changed its name to Meta –which will trade as MVRS come December 1– as Zuckerberg revealed during the firm’s earnings presentation that the metaverse will be a big focus.
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Amid these developments, whistleblower Haugen went on to say at the Web Summit Tuesday that Zuckerberg should step down, as “It is unlikely the company will change if he remains the CEO. And I hope that he can see that there is so much good that he could do in the world and maybe it’s a chance for someone else to maybe take the reins.”
“Over and over again Facebook chooses expansion in new areas over sticking the landing on what they’ve already done,” Haugen said. “And I find it unconscionable that, as you read through the documents, it states very clearly there needs to be more resources on very basic safety systems.”
Facebook is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.