Today, Facebook stunned the world by announcing the end of its facial recognition-powered automatic face tagging system. This is the technology that uses the faces in photographs to figure out who is in them.
People who previously agreed to be automatically recognized in images and videos will no longer be recognized, and Facebook will remove over a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates.
This means that people’s faces won’t be detected automatically in Memories, photographs, or videos, and you won’t be able to switch it back on. The firm notes that consumers are still encouraged to manually tag posts, but that the automatic process will be discontinued.
Additionally, the names of persons in identified photographs will no longer be included in Automatic Alt Text, which provides image descriptions for blind people.
All of this will take place “in the next weeks,” according to Facebook. “We need to weigh the great use cases for facial recognition against growing social concerns, especially as governments have yet to offer clear standards,” the company adds.
Facebook claims that face recognition is a “long-term function in society needs to be addressed in the open, among those who will be most touched by technology,” and that it will “engage in that discourse and work with the civil society groups and regulators are driving this discussion.”