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Facebook (Meta) is going to 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 in to our Face Recognition setting will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos, and we will delete the facial recognition template used to identify them. 

More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted in for 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. 

“We’re shutting down the Face Recognition system on Facebook. People who’ve opted in will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos and we will delete more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates," Jerome Pesenti, VP of Artificial Intelligence wrote.

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 recognized in photos but will function normally otherwise. 

“We need to weigh the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules," Pesenti added.

The newly rebranded company said, “We believe facial recognition can help for products like these with privacy, transparency and control in place, so you decide if and how your face is used. We will continue working on these technologies and engaging outside experts."

Ending the use of the existing Face Recognition system means the services it enables will be removed over the coming weeks, as will the setting allowing people to opt into the system.

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