The Facebook company, now known as Meta, is shutting down its Face Recognition system and deleting the saved faces of over a billion people.
Face recognition is used to create a unique number for you, called a template, based on the photos and videos they believe you’re in on Facebook, such as your profile picture and photos and videos that you’ve been tagged in. When you enable face recognition, Facebook creates a template that it compares to other photos, videos, and other places where the camera is used (such as live video) to determine whether you appear in that content.
According to the company, people who have opted in will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos. More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users have enabled Face Recognition on the platform. More than a billion people’s facial recognition templates will be lost if it is removed.
The company also stated that making this change required careful consideration, pointing out that there are instances where people using platforms place a high value on face recognition.
This change will also affect Automatic Alt Text (AAT), which creates image descriptions for blind or visually impaired people. AAT descriptions will no longer include the names of people recognized in photos after this change, but will otherwise function normally.
Due to the removal of Facebook’s existing Face Recognition system, the services it enables, as well as the setting allowing people to opt into the system, will be removed in the coming weeks.