Facebook has announced that it plans to shut down its decade-old facial recognition system this month.
Jerome Pesenti, Vice President of Artificial Intelligence at Meta, Facebook's newly named parent company, said in a blog post, "We will shut down the Face Recognition system on Facebook as part of a company-wide move to limit the use of facial recognition in our products. As part of this change, people who have opted for our Face Recognition setting will no longer be automatically recognised in photos and videos, and we will delete the facial recognition template used to identify them." Face Recognition was introduced by Facebook in the year 2010. Pesenti said that new technology brings with it potential for both benefit and concern, and the company wants to find the right balance.
"In the case of facial recognition, its long-term role in society needs to be debated in the open, and among those who will be most impacted by it," said Pesenti.
"We need to weigh the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules," added Pesenti.
This change will also impact Automatic Alt Text (AAT), which creates image descriptions for blind and visually-impaired people. After this change, AAT descriptions will no longer include the names of people recognised in photos but will function normally otherwise.