Facebook has tried to use facial recognition on multiple occasions. In 2012, Facebook shut down the technology in Europe after lawmakers raised concerns with the legality of Facebook using facial recognition with its consent methods. The social network is making another run at using the technology, which is sparking criticism from privacy advocates.
Facebook’s earlier attempts to use facial recognition failed to get users’ consent for collecting and using their facial data.
Whether you realize it or not, Facebook has been using facial recognition in some form for years. When you upload photos to the social media site, Facebook scans the image and suggests people it recognizes in the photo. Facebook calls this “tag suggestions” and first introduced the feature in 2010. Facial recognition goes even a step further as a privacy threat because it collects data in real-time, as opposed to just from static images.
How Face Recognition Technology Is Used
Facebook’s Safety Claims are Backwards
To encourage people to consent to sharing their facial data, Facebook is going heavy on the safety claims. The social media giant’s latest approach is claiming that it will use your face to protect you from people using your photos to create a false identity. Regardless of Facebook’s use of your data, sharing your data to power an AI that could threaten civil liberties isn’t comforting.
“Facebook tries to explain their practices in ways that make Facebook look like the good guy, that they are somehow protecting your privacy,” said Jennifer Lynch, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Facebook is not alone in its use of facial recognition. Other tech companies are using it on a large scale, including Amazon, Apple and Google. However, because of Facebook’s concerning past with user data and privacy, people are uncomfortable with Facebook taking even more of their data.
We recently discussed Amazon’s Rekognition and people’s negative reaction to police departments using the technology. If multiple companies use their own version of facial recognition data-powered AI, each company will have its own database of faces. This means that our data could be leaked or hacked from any one of the companies storing our data.