Limiting Facebook’s facial recognition features to the maximum is the latest announcement by the tech giant. On Tuesday, the company announced its imminent plan to shut down its facial recognition system that will affect billions of users. The recent decision was an outcome of pressure from privacy activists, lawmakers, and courts. Although, confusion regarding the new change is still concerning since the program was a helpful source in terms of active users’ identification on the platform. On the other hand, the unethical side of facial recognition pointing toward racial biases, privacy breaches, and inaccuracy to identify seems to contradict its significance.
Why Facebook’s Facial Recognition Is a Failure?
Since 2015, a group of users in Illinois accused the company of violating state privacy laws. The lawsuit concluded after Facebook agreed to $550m in order to settle the legal dispute, which was resolved last year.
In 2019, the US govt research advised that the facial recognition algorithms are proven to be highly inaccurate when it comes to identifying people of color, especially the African American people. The programs also fail to recognize Caucasian and Asian faces.
The vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook, Jerome Pesenti talked about limiting the use of Facebook’s facial recognition. In his view, regardless of the ambiguities about the system, it will be a good decision to halt the features for users.
Impacts of Shutting Down the System
According to the firm’s spokesperson, the company will remove Facebook’s Facial recognition templates of more than a billion users globally by December. Facebook said the users will be unable to activate the recognition feature that allows them to tag names in videos and photos.
Moreover, the recent change will affect the Automatic Alt Text (AAT) which is a technology to accommodate blind people by creating picture descriptions for them. The shutting down of facial recognition will alter AAT settings in a way that the tech will only detect the number of people in a picture but won’t identify the individual.
Facebook’s Imminent Plans
Facebook’s facial recognition features might be a way towards improving the latest projects i.e., the Facebook Metaverse. Although the company is shutting down or limiting the features for Facebook it is still confident about promoting the services on other platforms including WhatsApp and Instagram. Users are assuming that the Horizon worlds or the new VR platform are probably connected to the company’s recent decision to discontinue facial recognition software. The VP of Artificial Intelligence mentioned that the company will continue to work on the latest projects and improve the technological setups in order to bring more innovations. Facebook said that the company is aspiring to find the balance considering the risks and benefits that come along with new technological advancements. Lastly, the decision about facial recognition features of Facebook is still an open discussion since people who are getting influenced are concerned. The company will keep the topic on the table with the authorities and civil society groups to discuss the possibilities of its beneficial aspects as well as the setbacks.