Facebook announced on November 2 2021, that they will be removing the facial recognition feature from their platform. They have supported this decision with claims of "We need to weigh the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules."
This means that:
Our technology will no longer automatically recognize if people's faces appear in Memories, photos or videos.
People will no longer be able to turn on face recognition for suggested tagging or see a suggested tag with their name in photos and videos they may appear in. We'll still encourage people to tag posts manually, to help you and your friends know who is in a photo or video.
This change will also impact Automatic Alt Text (AAT), a technology used to create image descriptions for people who are blind or visually impaired. AAT currently identifies people in about 4% of photos. After the change, AAT will still be able to recognize how many people are in a photo, but will no longer attempt to identify who each person is using facial recognition. Otherwise, AAT will continue to function normally, and we'll work closely with the blind and visually impaired community on technologies to continually improve AAT. You can learn more about what these changes mean for people who use AAT on the Facebook Accessibility page.
If you have opted into our Face Recognition setting, we will delete the template used to identify you. If you have the face recognition setting turned off, there is no template to delete and there will be no change.
But this does not mean that Facebook is abandoning face recognition technology.
"Looking ahead, we still see facial recognition technology as a powerful tool, for example, for people needing to verify their identity, or to prevent fraud and impersonation. 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." says Jerome Pesenti, VP of Artificial Intelligence.
According to a Facebook representative, the removal will take place worldwide and will be completed by December.