Controlling the Damage

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It’s intriguing how everything we encounter in our lives bears some pros and cons. No matter what discipline the particular thing belongs to and what use it has, there are always multiple facets in play. Owing to the tricky nature of this truth, we are forced to navigate around rather cautiously. Nevertheless, the landscape was expected to change big time once technology came into the fold. With all its attributes, the creation could have very well compensated for any negative out there, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, technology introduced us with a fresh batch of negatives altogether. One part of the said pack happened to be that it made bypassing regulations easier than ever before. Companies were suddenly able hide within the plethora of tech-constructed inroads, and that sent regulatory industry into a spiral. The panic only made it better of an opportunity for different industry players to capitalize and expand in whichever way that best complemented their ulterior motives. However, it looks like the party time is over, as the regulators are now on the heels of such companies, and one name that is feeling the heat yet again is Facebook.

Now known as Metaverse, the social media-giant has officially announced that it will discontinue its facial recognition feature. The move will see the end of algorithms automatically tagging people in photographs and videos. Furthermore, all the facial recognition templates used for identification are going to be permanently binned. Even though Meta has tried to make it seem like a willful decision, it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for a lawsuit filed against the company earlier this year. According to the reports, the lawsuit claimed that Facebook automatic tagging technology directly violated Illinois’ biometric privacy law. Alongside fractured PR, the violation also ended up costing Facebook a whopping $650 million in settlement.

“Many specific instances where facial recognition can be helpful need to be weighed against growing concerns about the use of this technology as a whole. Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate,” said Jerome Pesenti, VP artificial intelligence, Meta.

As a way of restoring user’s trust, Facebook had tinkered with its facial recognition technology before in 2019 by making it an opt-in feature, but with recent cases turning the company’s image into bit of a dumpster-fire, complete discontinuation of the same looked like a safer bet. Interestingly, though, many tech experts are calling it as nothing but Meta trying to set the stage for its upcoming VR technology, which will, of course, demand a level of allowance on the privacy part. It remains to be seen how things unfold in what has already become a sensational story of distrust.

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