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After Taking Facial Data on Over One Billion Users, Facebook Shuts Down Facial Recognition

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Facebook announced Tuesday it will end its facial recognition program after gathering more than one billion user profiles, following growing concerns from regulators and users.

The social network, which recently announced its name change to Meta, made the announcement in a company blog post on Tuesday.

“This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history,” Jerome Pesenti, Facebook’s vice president of artificial intelligence, said in the post.

“More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted in to our Face Recognition setting and are able to be recognized, and its removal will result in the deletion of more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates,” he added.

The end of the controversial system will stop Facebook from automatically recognizing a person’s face in pictures or videos. The change is expected to take place over the next few weeks, according to the company’s blog post.

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The company cited the concern that there are societal changes related to privacy among users and government regulators.

“There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use,” Pesenti said.

“Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate,” he added.

The facial recognition change comes as Facebook announced on Thursday it will change its name to Meta as the company seeks to expand beyond social media.

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The name change was announced during Facebook’s augmented and virtual reality conference.

“We are at the beginning of the next chapter for the internet, and it’s the next chapter for our company too,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a “Founder’s Letter.”

“The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build,” Zuckerberg added.

Meta’s goals are both innovative and far-reaching.

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“Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Zuckerberg wrote.

The name change from Facebook to Meta will also apply to its stock ticker acronym, which will switch from FB to MVRS on Dec. 1, the company said.

In addition, thousands of pages of leaked Facebook documents revealed details regarding regulations and internal changes.

Whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, appeared before lawmakers in Washington to share her testimony of the social media platform’s questionable practices.

Facebook-owned Instagram also faced controversy when it was revealed that company research regarding children on the platform showed a negative impact on their mental health.

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Dillon Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Western Journal and is the author or co-author of numerous books.
Dillon Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Western Journal and is the author or co-author of numerous books. An accomplished endurance athlete, Burroughs has also completed numerous ultramarathons. He lives in Tennessee with his wife and three children.




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