A Facebook official announced their plan on Tuesday about terminating the social media giant's facial recognition system, citing "societal concerns."

The move was confirmed and announced by Facebook through Jerome Presenti, Meta's vice president for artificial intelligence, in the company's Blogspot.

"We're shutting down the Face Recognition system on Facebook," the Facebook official said.

According to Presenti, the reason they will remove facial recognition is that they need to "weigh" the positive uses of the feature as "societal concerns" continues to grow.

Furthermore, Presenti also mentioned that regulators are still "in the process of providing a clear set of rules" governing the use of facial recognition, USA Today reported.

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

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Changes in Removing Facial Recognition on Facebook

The said move will affect over a billion people. Presenti said that the move will change technology's history.

"This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in technology's history," Presenti said.

One of the changes that will be affected by the removal of facial recognition is that people who opted to use the said feature will no longer be automatically recognized in the photos and videos.

Presenti furthered that this will happen because their company will delete more than a billion individual facial recognition templates of users who used the said feature.

The shutting down of facial recognition will also affect the Automatic Alt Text (AAT), a feature that creates image descriptions for blind and visually impaired individuals.

"After this change, AAT descriptions will no longer include the names of people recognized in photos but will function normally otherwise," Presenti underscored.

Despite concerns, Presenti said that they still see facial recognition technology as a powerful tool, mentioning that the said technology allows individuals to verify their identity and prevent fraud or impersonation, CNN reported.

"Every new technology brings with it potential for both benefit and concern, and we want to find the right balance," Presenti underscored, adding that they will converse with and work with civil society groups and regulators while the long term role of Facial recognition is debated.

Thoughts on the Removal of Facebook's Facial Recognition

Different groups and experts expressed their thoughts on Facebook's decision to remove facial recognition.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lauded the move, calling it a "start toward ending dangerous uses of facial recognition.

Meanwhile, Electronic Privacy Information Center President and Executive Director Alan Butler said that Facebook's move is a good one for users.

"It is welcome news that Facebook is not only shutting down facial recognition on its platform but also deleting the face scan data that it improperly obtained from more than a billion users," Butler said.

Law and computer science professor, Woodrow Hartzog from Northeastern University, called Facebook's decision a "win."

The fact that a company as big and influential as Facebook is coming out and acknowledging the harms of facial recognition is definitely a sign of the times," Hartzog said.

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Written By: Joshua Summers

WATCH: Facebook to No Longer Use Facial Recognition Technology - From Bloomberg Technology