Facebook Will Shut Down Facial Recognition System

Facebook Inc (FB.O) announced on Tuesday it is shutting down its facial recognition system, which automatically identifies users in photos and videos, citing growing societal concerns about the use of such technology.

“Regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use,” Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”

The removal of face recognition by the world’s largest social media platform comes as the tech industry has faced a reckoning over the past few years over the ethics of using the technology.

Critics say facial recognition technology – which is popular among retailers, hospitals and other businesses for security purposes – could compromise privacy, target marginalized groups and normalize intrusive surveillance. IBM has permanently ended facial recognition product sales, and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) have suspended sales to police indefinitely.

The news also comes as Facebook has been under intense scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers over user safety and a wide range of abuses on its platforms.

The company, which last week renamed itself Meta Platforms Inc, said more than one-third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted into the face recognition setting on the social media site, and the change will now delete the “facial recognition templates” of more than 1 billion people.

The removal will roll out globally and is expected to be complete by December, a Facebook spokesperson said. Privacy advocacy and digital rights groups welcomed the move.

Alan Butler, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said, “For far too long Internet users have suffered personal data abuses at the whims of Facebook and other platforms. EPIC first called for an end to this program in 2011,” though he said comprehensive data protection regulations were still needed in the United States.

Adam Schwartz, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that although Facebook’s action comes after moves from other tech companies, it could mark a “notable moment in the national turning-away from face recognition.”

Facebook added that its automatic alt text tool, which creates image descriptions for visually impaired people, will no longer include the names of people recognized in photos after the removal of face recognition, but will otherwise function normally.Facebook did not rule out using facial recognition technology in other products, saying it still sees it as a “powerful tool” for identity verification for example.

The company’s facial recognition software has long been the subject of scrutiny. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission included it among the concerns when it fined Facebook $5 billion to settle privacy complaints in 2019. A judge this year approved Facebook’s $650 million settlement of a class action in Illinois over allegations it collected and stored biometric data of users without proper consent.

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Source: Facebook will shut down facial recognition system | Reuters

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Related Contents:

Staff, By GCN; Jun 10, 2020. “IBM bows out of facial recognition market -“. GCN. Retrieved October 7, 2021.“Mugspot Can Find A Face In The Crowd – Face-Recognition Software Prepares To Go To Work In The Streets

Bonsor, K. (September 4, 2001). “How Facial Recognition Systems Work”ford, Mark. “Facial recognition progress report

  • October 6, 2011.

Kimmel, Ron. “Three-dimensional face reco

Riggan, Benjamin; Short, Nathaniel; Hu, Shuowen (March 2018). “Thermal to Visible Synthesis of Face Images using Multiple Regions”

“Galaxy S8 face recognition already defeated with a simple picture”. Ars Technica. Retrieved November 2, 2017.

“Facial recognition technology is coming to Canadian airports this spring”. CBC News. Retrieved March 3, 2017.

“TSA had expressed its intention to adopt a similar program for domestic air travel”. USA Today. August 16, 2019.“Police use facial recognition technology to detect wanted criminals during beer festival in Chinese city of Qingdao”. opengovasia.com. OpenGovAsia. Archived from the original on N

Dai, Sarah (June 5, 2019). “AI unicorn Megvii not behind app used for surveillance in Xinjiang, says human rights group”. South China Morning Post.

Metaverse Tokens Soar Following Facebook’s Rebrand

Metaverse-related tokens took off shortly after Facebook FB +2.1% announced Thursday it would rebrand itself as Meta in a bid to reorient itself around augmented and virtual reality-charged future. The category’s market cap shot up by 262.9% in the past 18 hours and now stands at $13.4 billion, according to cryptocurrency data aggregator CoinGecko.

Half a dozen coins, including some of the largest like MANA, Ethereum token powering the Decentraland virtual reality platform, and STARL, a native asset of the namesake decentralized virtual space project, are up by more than 50% on the day. The largest gainer of the day is ETHV (Ethverse), token of a virtual universe built using the Minecraft gaming engine and Ethereum blockchain, with a 112.8% increase.

Token of popular NFT-based online video game Axie Infinity, which has generated more than $7.5 billion in sales, has risen 11%. Facebook’s stock closed with a modest 1.5% increase after the social media giant announced it would change its name to Meta, reflecting its bet on the next iteration of the internet centered around virtual experiences. ​​The rebranding comes amid a barrage of reports related to the company’s lack of control over the spread of misinformation and inflammatory content on its platform.

In the day leading up to the announcement, Facebook sai​​d it would spend at least $10 billion this year to develop its metaverse division and hire 10,000 people in the European Union over the next five years to help scale the effort. The company will begin trading under the ticker MVRS on December 1.

What has happened?

After plenty of speculation, Facebook, the company that owns platforms including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, rebranded as Meta on 28 October. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told attendees at the company’s annual Connect conference: “Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future. Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and identity on what we’re building toward.”

It is important to note that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram will all be keeping their names. But the company that produces and maintains them will now be called Meta – similar to Google’s 2015 corporate restructuring into a parent company called Alphabet. Facebook (the company) even changed the logo outside its building on 28 October.

Sorry, what is a metaverse?

The name was chosen to echo the key product that Zuckerberg hopes Facebook – now Meta – will be represented by: the metaverse, the name for a shared online 3D virtual space that a number of companies are interested in creating as a sort of future version of the internet.

“In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter announcing Facebook’s rebranding as Meta.

But it is in the future. Not now. The metaverse unveiled by the company in August looks like The Sims or another, older immersive world: the 2003 video game Second Life.

Why is Zuckerberg doing this?

For one thing, Meta doesn’t want to be known solely as a social media platform. My suspicion is that this is about owning the operating system of the future, and Facebook’s experience of being an app on other people’s – rivals’ – operating systems,” says Anupam Chander at Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington, DC. “They don’t want to be prisoner on other people’s platform. They want others to be prisoner on their platform.”

Meta did make oblique references to Apple in its announcement, saying it wanted to avoid a single company restricting what you can do and charging high fees, but Max Van Kleek at the University of Oxford is sceptical that Meta itself will wield control over its metaverse.

“Is Meta going to simply provide the tools rather than be the gatekeeper? I doubt that they would relinquish anything that might compromise their position as the definitive advertisement provider of the metaverse, for instance,” says Van Kleek.

One issue with Meta trying to be the sole company underpinning the metaverse is the pivotal role it would play in our lives if its vision of the future becomes a reality. The company has struggled with outages on its key apps that removed the ability to communicate for large parts of the world in recent months – and if such a thing were to happen in an all-pervasive VR universe like the metaverse, the consequences could be huge.

“The whole presentation of the metaverse is so utopian and naive,” says Bucher. “It makes a lot of sweeping assumptions about how people live their lives. I’m sure not everybody would be so thrilled about [having it in] the home space.”

“This is yet another world that they want to conquer,” says Chander. “Having conquered the Earth, they now want to conquer the virtual metaverse.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I report on cryptocurrencies and other applications of blockchain. A Russia native, I am a graduate of NYU Abu Dhabi and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Source: Metaverse Tokens Soar Following Facebook’s Rebrand

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Facebook Slows Sales Growth With Apple’s Privacy Policy

Apple warned that sales growth slowed in the last quarter Of a corporation. App privacy rules continue to create uncertainty for social media companies. Facebook’s ad sales, a major source of revenue, slowed growth in the first quarter since Apple began demanding apps to ask users if they wanted to be tracked in April. This change makes it harder for advertisers to target their ads to the right audience and get information about their performance.

Facebook also announced on Monday that it will change its reporting structure to split a unit called “Facebook Reality Labs” that contains augmented reality and virtual reality products and services. This move separates the unit’s results from its core business segment, which includes its flagship Facebook platform and other apps such as Instagram. The company said its investment in Facebook Reality Labs is expected to reduce overall operating profit in 2021 by about $ 10 billion.

Revenues in the third quarter reached $ 29.01 billion, up 35% from the year-ago quarter, but below the $ 29.56 billion expected by FactSet polled analysts. This is the smallest increase since the fourth quarter of last year, well below the 52% in the first half of this year.

Advertising revenue fell slightly from the second quarter, including the largest complex market segments, the United States and Canada. European sales also declined from the previous quarter.

Facebook warned in its July earnings report that changes in privacy for Apple’s iOS operating system could compromise ad targeting capabilities in the third quarter as more people update their iPhones and iPads.Last week’s snap Ltd

Apple’s policy has accused stock prices of falling by more than 20% as earnings growth is expected to slow this quarter.

Facebook’s third-quarter earnings were up 17% to $ 9.19 billion, or $ 3.22 per share. According to the company, the number of monthly users was 3.58 billion, an increase of 12% over the previous year.

Facebook’s share price rose more than 3% in after-hours trading on Monday after the end of a regular session. The company’s stock fell 5% last week after Snap reported an advertising issue related to Apple’s changes.

Michael Nathanson, an analyst at Moffett Nathanson, said: Social media companies start a busy week of earnings for tech giants. After the bell on Tuesday, Apple and Amazon.com will report quarterly results. Ltd

Numbers scheduled for Thursday. All are expected to achieve healthy top-line growth year-over-year as they continue to embrace the digital products and services offered by consumers and businesses.

According to Jeffreys analysts, global supply chain disruptions were expected to slow Facebook’s sales growth as vendors with limited inventories cut advertising costs. Still, the investment firm said digital advertising is powerful and new advertising products from Facebook’s Instagram service will be up and running to provide a new source of revenue.

Facebook said it expects revenue to grow from $ 31.5 billion to $ 34 billion this quarter, reflecting factors such as “Apple’s iOS 14 changes continue to headwind.”

Parents of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have also tackled other challenges. This includes scrutiny of strict regulations in Washington and criticism of the company’s operations by its own supervisory board following a series of Wall Street Journal investigations called Facebook files.

Share your thoughts

What do you think about the current state of Facebook’s business? Join the conversation below.

Last week, UK competition regulators fined Facebook £ 50.5 million ($ 69.6 million worth) for violating reporting requirements while reviewing a proposal to acquire Giphy, an online provider of animated images. Facebook has separately agreed to pay a monetary penalty as part of its settlement with the US government. It accused social media companies of illegally booking lucrative jobs for migrant workers sponsored for permanent residence, instead of looking for and considering available US workers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently promoted his vision for the Metaverse. It is loosely defined as a broad future online world where people exist and interact in a shared virtual space through digital avatars. He recently described the Metaverse as the next generation of the Internet and the next chapter in his company. Facebook said last week it plans to create 10,000 jobs in Europe over the next five years to work on Metaverse-related efforts.

Zuckerberg emphasized the message in the company’s earnings report. “I’m particularly excited about the roadmap that helps build creators, commerce and the Metaverse,” he said. Facebook said it expects to increase its investment over the next few years. The company added that next year’s costs will be as much as $ 97 billion for technical staff, product staff, and infrastructure-related costs.

Sarah E. Needleman

By: Sarah E. Needleman

Source: Facebook slows sales growth with Apple’s privacy policy – Texas News Today

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Facebook Adds Photobucket and Google Calendar To Its Data Portability Options

Facebook has today announced that it has added two new destinations for when you want to move your data from the social network. In a blog post, the company said that users will be able to move their images to Photobucket and event listings to Google Calendar.

The TYI tool exists to get a copy of your data off Facebook, be that your photos and videos or notes and posts stored on the service. There’s already support for Google Docs, Google Photos, Blogger, WordPress, Koofr, Dropbox, and Backblaze, but the list has now grown to include Google Calendar and Photobucket.

Product Manager Hadi Michel said that the tool has been “completely rebuilt” to be “simpler and more intuitive,” giving people more clarity on what they can share to which platforms. In addition, users can now launch multiple transfers, with better fine-grain control on what they’re choosing to export in any one transfer.

This is yet another feature piled on to the Data Transfer Project, an open-source project developed by Google, Facebook and Microsoft. Facebook users can already send their photos to Google’s own image-storage service, as well as Dropbox, Blogger, Google Documents and WordPress.

This is, in part, a way to address the long-in-progress ACCESS Act, which would enable users to transfer their data to any competing platform. Facebook says that it calls on government to “make clearer rules about who is responsible for protecting that data as it is transferred to different services.

The addition of Photobucket means there’s a new destination for your photos and videos, but Goolge Calendar has been added specifically to support the transfer of events data for the first time. That way you can continue to track which events are happening and set notifications for them in Calendar without needing to manually enter them all first.

Facebook is also touting a “completely rebuilt experience,” which was implemented to make it easier to see the available destinations and specifically which types of data can be transferred to them. It’s also easier to retry transfers, start multiple transfers simultaneously to the same destination, and there’s new filters to make it easier to “precisely select” the data you want to transfer.

Matthew Humphries

By: Matthew Humphries

Source: https://uk.pcmag.com/

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Facebook Bans NYU Researchers Investigating Political Ad Trends, Spending

American Airlines Offers 30 Minutes of Free TikTok Viewing

Facebook Settings Redesign Removes the Privacy Category

Amazon Employees Can Win Cash, Cars, Vacations (if Vaccinated)

Facebook’s Data Transfer Tool Adds Photobucket, Google Calendar Support

Google Co-Founder Larry Page Granted New Zealand Residency

Tesla Cybertruck Production Delayed to 2022

Windows 11 Will Have a Focus Mode With Spotify Integration

Top Lawmakers And Consumer Advocates Condemn Facebook’s Decision To Block Academic Research On Political Ads

A day after Facebook disabled academic researchers’ efforts to study political ad-targeting, critics including several top U.S. senators say the social network should be doing more to improve transparency.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced it disabled access for a group of New York University researchers who have spent the past year studying how misinformation is spread through political ad-targeting on the platform. The group, called the NYU Ad Observatory, began in September 2020 in collaboration with thousands of volunteers who downloaded a plug-in to automatically send researchers copies of the political ads served to their accounts.

Although Facebook has been in contact with the Ad Observatory since last year, the company didn’t shut down their accounts until yesterday—just hours after researchers said they informed Facebook that they were studying the spread of disinformation on the platform related to the January 6 attacks at the U.S. Capitol.

“While the Ad Observatory project may be well-intentioned, the ongoing and continued violations of protections against scraping cannot be ignored and should be remediated,” Mike Clark, Facebook’s product management director, wrote in a blog post announcing the decision. “Collecting data via scraping is an industry-wide problem that jeopardizes people’s privacy.”

The move comes almost exactly two years after Facebook’s landmark settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which in 2019 fined the Silicon Valley giant $5 billion over data privacy violations. As a part of the settlement, the FTC also imposed new data privacy restrictions and new accountability standards.

According to Clark, NYU researchers violated the company’s terms of service while gathering data in a way “programmed to evade our detection systems,” adding that Facebook’s actions are “in line with our privacy program under the FTC order.”

Lawmakers who have pushed for regulating digital advertising in recent years condemned Facebook’s decision. In an emailed statement sent today to Forbes, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said “it is vital that social media companies both protect user data and improve transparency.” U.S. Senator Mark Warner—a vocal critic of Facebook and other tech giants—also released a statement describing Facebook’s decision to cut off the Ad Observatory as “deeply concerning.” And on Twitter, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said he’s asked the FTC to “to confirm that this excuse is as bogus as it sounds.”

“After years of abusing users’ privacy, it’s rich for Facebook to use it as an excuse to crack down on researchers exposing its problems,” Wyden wrote.

Klobuchar, a co-sponsor of the Honest Ads Act—a bipartisan bill that would modernize federal election laws to make social media advertising subject to the same rules as broadcast and print ads—said there are “serious problems with social media platforms that facilitate the spread of misinformation.” (Last month, she also introduced new legislation to hold Facebook and other tech companies accountable for health-related misinformation including content related to vaccines.)

“As we face threats to our democracy, we need more transparency from online platforms, not less,” she said. “That is why I am deeply troubled by the news that Facebook is cutting off researcher access to political advertising data, which has shown that the company continues to sell millions of dollars’ worth of political ads without proper disclosures.”

According to Warner, the Ad Observatory’s efforts have “repeatedly facilitated revelations of ads violating Facebook’s Terms of Service, ads for frauds and predatory financial schemes, and political ads that were improperly omitted from Facebook’s lackluster Ad Library.”

“For several years now, I have called on social media platforms like Facebook to work with, and better empower, independent researchers, whose efforts consistently improve the integrity and safety of social media platforms by exposing harmful and exploitative activity,” Warner said. “Instead, Facebook has seemingly done the opposite. It’s past time for Congress to act to bring greater transparency to the shadowy world of online advertising, which continues to be a major vector for fraud and misconduct.”

Facebook itself has in the past expressed support for the Honest Ads Act. In an April 2018 Facebook post announcing new tools for political ad transparency and accountability, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the Honest Ads Act “will help raise the bar for all political advertising online” and that “election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform.” However, the legislation is among the many bills related to digital advertising that have failed to gain traction in Congress.

Facebook’s own Ad Library does provide detail of political candidate’ and organizations’ advertising — including overall spending, geographic targeting and a repository of the ads themselves. However, the Ad Observatory’s work has found examples of political ads that Facebook missed and failed to label. Facebook’s publicly shared information also doesn’t provide any information about how users are targeted based on personal interests or their activity on Facebook.

In response to Facebook’s decision, Cybersecurity for Democracy—a nonpartisan group within NYU’s school of engineering that operates the Ad Observatory—released a statement accusing Facebook of “silencing” independent research. Laura Edelson, the lead researcher at Cybersecurity for Democracy, said the social network has cut of access to “more than two dozen” other researchers and journalists accessing Facebook data through the Ad Observer project.

She said Facebook decision also blocks them from continuing work on measuring vaccine misinformation, adding that making “data about disinformation on Facebook transparent is vital to a healthy internet and a healthy democracy.”

“Over the last several years, we’ve used this access to uncover systemic flaws in the Facebook Ad Library, to identify misinformation in political ads, including many sowing distrust in our election system, and to study Facebook’s apparent amplification of partisan misinformation,” Edelson wrote. “By suspending our accounts, Facebook has effectively ended all this work.”

While Facebook said it tried working with researchers to provide data in a “privacy protected way,” outside organizations that have encouraged Facebook users to participate in NYU’s research said Facebook’s claims of privacy violations are unfounded. Common Cause, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, said some of its members had opted in and that “data that was not personally identifiable.” Meanwhile, Mozilla issued its own statement on Wednesday said that the privacy-focused browser had reviewed NYU researchers’ code along with a design review and found that people could safely contribute.

“NYU’s Ad Observatory project was run entirely from volunteer-donated data that was not personally identifiable, making any claims from Facebook that this violated user privacy untrue,” according to a statement issued by Common Cause Media and Democracy Program Director Yosef Getachew. “Shutting down this project is just another attempt by the platform to diminish the power of users and skirt accountability.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a Forbes staff writer and editor of the Forbes CMO Network, leading coverage of marketing and advertising especially related to the ever-evolving role of chief marketing officers. I also manage a number of Forbes lists including World’s Most Influential CMOs, World’s Most Valuable Brands, CMO Next, 30 Under 30 Marketing & Advertising U.S. category and the 30 Under 30 Europe Media & Marketing category. Previously, I was a staff writer at Adweek reporting on marketing and technology and before that covered business and politics in Alabama for The Associated Press and The Birmingham News. Email me at mswant@forbes.com with news tips or other story ideas.

Source: Top Lawmakers And Consumer Advocates Condemn Facebook’s Decision To Block Academic Research On Political Ads

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