Meta stops adding Facebook photo tags. What you need to know about this policy change and why it happens.
On November 2, 2021, Meta Platforms Inc. he said shutting down Facebook's face recognition system.
Facebook introduced face recognition in 2010 and after 11 years has amassed more than one billion face recognition profiles. Probably has the largest collection in the world.
Now, Meta states that it will delete all these profiles. What does this mean and why is he doing it now.
What is Face Recognition?
Face recognition is software that recognizes a human face by mapping its features from a photo or video. The most important features that the algorithm controls are the distance between the eyes and the distance from the forehead to the chin.
However, there are up to 68 functions that the face recognition algorithm can use to distinguish your face and create a unique face recognition, also known as a "faceprint" or faceprint.
Your faceprint is represented as a mathematical formula that belongs only to you. Companies feed this guy into a database that compares him to other faceprints until he finds one that fits.
Face recognition is a key element of biometric security and is used by various sectors, such as law enforcement, phone makers and social media. Facebook uses an algorithm face recognition, called DeepFace, to tag people in photos and videos, and to suggest people to tag.
Why does Meta turn off face recognition on Facebook?
The official reason given to one Publication of Meta, is that the regulatory authorities have not given a clear regulation governing face recognition. This regulatory gap has led to concerns about user privacy and the role of face recognition technology. Meta claims that this uncertainty left it with no choice but to limit the use of Facebook face recognition.
Meta, and the big tech companies in general, are coming under increasing pressure from regulators as well as from users themselves for their business practices and the handling of the huge amount of data they collect on a daily basis. Meta's decision to disable Facebook face recognition software was certainly influenced by all of the above.
In July 2020, Facebook had to pay $ 650 million to 1,6 million Illinois users who had sued the company to create and store their faceprints to be able to tag photos without prior notice or written consent. .
A year earlier, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined Facebook $ 5 billion for improperly sharing information belonging to 87 million users with the British political advisory firm. Cambridge Analytica.
At the moment, Meta is still in a big controversy after Frances Haugen released internal documents known as "Facebook papers" which claim that Facebook prioritizes profits over the truth.
Will disabling face recognition enhance privacy?
Meta of course does not give up face recognition. He will continue to use it, but under tighter conditions.
Adding tags to photos and videos will no longer be automatic, but Meta can use face recognition to help users access a locked account, verify their identity on financial products, or unlock a personal device.
However, it is worth noting that in order for Metaverse to work, Meta will need to collect data on a much larger scale than before.
For example, augmented reality devices will need to monitor your eyes and facial expressions, and collect other elements of your biometric data in order to create your avatar and make it do things in Metaverse.
Will you have full control of your biometric data in Metaverse? Will we be asked to give written consent for its use or will there be other forms of abuse that we have not even considered?
From what we know so far about Facebook and the practices it follows, we can not hope for anything better.