Facebook ends face recognition. What does that REALLY mean?

Nothing definitive, in the long run.

Facebook ends face recognition. What does that REALLY mean? /img/face-recognition-nightmare.jpg

Facebook just announced plans to shut down its facial recognition system, out of “many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society."

In practice, according to the NYT, Al Jazeera, CNN and other sources, Facebook:

  • plans to delete more than one billion facial recognition templates, which are digital scans of facial features, by December 2021
  • BUT:
  • will not eliminate (assuming anyone could ever “eliminate” an algorithm, that is) the software that powers the system
    • has not excluded incorporating facial recognition technology into future products

Good. But not final

If face recognition is now inactive inside Facebook, that’s surely great news. But automatic face recognition is still loose in the world, with so many downsides, from pigs and inmates to unsuspecting cops, that the ones I have had the possibility to cover here merely scratch the surface. Never forget that. Even in Facebook (no, sorry: Meta) face recognition may return some days in ways, quoting CNN, “less noticeable but still dangerous to people." For example, as hypotized here, "[tailoring] ads to specific customers based on their mood, age, eye gaze, or other personal attributes [of their faces] that could indicate a propensity to buy."

Creepy, huh? Maybe mask-only selfies may be a good idea, even after the pandemic.