Facebook set to delete facial recognition data on more than a billion users

Facebook set to delete facial recognition data on more than a billion users

Just days after rebranding, Facebook revealed plans to destroy a trove of the most concerning data that the world’s largest social network has acquired on over a billion people.

Facebook’s newly renamed parent company Meta revealed in a blog post on Tuesday that it will shut down its facial recognition algorithms and erase a vast library of over a billion facial recognition templates used to connect faces with photographs and videos. Users who previously opted in will no longer be paired with Facebook in the future.


Face recognition was implemented by Facebook in 2010 to automatically tag photographs with names. The tool was available by default when it launched, and Facebook only made the system explicitly opt-in in 2019, which explains how it amassed over a billion face recognition profiles.

Facebook set to delete facial recognition data on more than a billion users


In a blog post, Facebook VP of artificial intelligence Jerome Pesenti said, “We still see facial recognition technology as a useful tool, for example, for individuals seeking to verify their identity, or to avoid fraud and impersonation.” “However, the numerous cases in which face recognition might be beneficial must be balanced against rising worries regarding the usage of this technology in general.”


In limiting Meta’s face recognition effort to a smaller selection of applications, Pesenti cited the uncertain environment for facial recognition technology.

Face recognition on Facebook was definitely more bother than it was worth at this time. Many ideas to control internet privacy in the United States, particularly at the federal level, are still speculative, but current regulations can make the use of face recognition technology more difficult. One of them is the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), an Illinois privacy regulation that has entangled some of the internet industry’s biggest names.

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Facebook was fined $650 million in a BIPA settlement earlier this year for using facial recognition to identify Illinois citizens’ images without their permission. A BIPA case has been filed in the state against the notorious face recognition startup Clearview AI. In its record-breaking but ultimately worthless $5 billion settlement with Facebook for fraudulent privacy practises, the FTC mentioned the company’s use of face recognition.


Face recognition is being abandoned by Facebook as a symbolic gesture following the company’s major metaverse rebranding. Concerns over Facebook’s privacy and moderation failures have had minimal effect on the firm’s bottom line, but public scepticism and potential regulation will accompany the corporation into its next chapter, rebrand or no rebrand.

The firm now known as Meta has its work cut out for it as it seeks to portray itself as a trustworthy steward for the next internet era. Even if no one believes the sudden change of heart, attempting to shed some baggage from earlier privacy problems is a wise move – and ultimately a win for consumers.

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