Facebook Secretly Built a Facial Recognition App That Let Employees Identify People by Pointing a Phone at Them

Facebook is always under the radar of security testers especially when this social media giant has accepted to provide data to the U.S government without the permission of the users. This time, it has been found that Facebook secretly developed an App 4 years ago to recognize the users using the smartphone camera feature. Although nothing has been reported officially anywhere, many of the anonymous sources are on the same page.

Facebook has tested it on its employees using the cellphone camera. In developing such an app, the intention of Facebook was to cease the user’s profile on the site. Though the app is been discontinued but it is for sure that we have a technology that can fetch the user’s profile if he had enabled facial recognition.

It was a Business Insider group who has brought this into light before all. The sources are anonymous according to which Facebook has worked on this app possibly between 2015 and 2016. Confirming all the rumors, Facebook has confirmed that there was such an app but hasn’t agreed to the fact that the app was capable of recognizing users and drawing their profiles. Facebook told “Dailymail” in one of its email communication that “As a way to learn about new technologies, our teams regularly build apps to use internally.’

The statement speaks about the intention of Facebook on utilizing technology for its internal purpose. Well, this is not the first time that the security question raises on Facebook. The social network earlier has also made use of AI in 2018 for tagging friends in photos. At that time, many of the users have raised the question of privacy.

The users didn’t forget about the Cambridge Analytica Scandal where it shares the data of 87 million users with Trump’s political campaign. At that time, it was discussed that if Facebook’s 2011 agreement with the FTC to safeguard privacy was violated or not. According to the agreement Facebook can’t share user’s data without their permission. The use of AI for tagging people in the photo seemed that Facebook is violating the agreement with the FTC.

Facebook in its defense has given an explanation that the facial recognition technology tested by it helps in protecting users from strangers so that no one can steal their identity. In fact, for spotting criminals, this technology is quite helpful. However, many argue that Facebook should have done this with the advance consent of its users to ensure intact privacy.

This technology can identify users from remote locations without their consent. It scans the user’s photo from any image or video and matches them with the user’s photos. The point to be noted here is that Facebook can recognize faces only when the user enables the option from their device. However, many argue that Facebook is able to pull up their profiles even when the option is disabled.

A Facebook spokesperson told that their system analyzes faces in photos to see if they match with others who have the setting turned on; if it can’t find a match, then the data is deleted. Despite all the explanations given by the Facebook representatives, critics are firm to believe that Facebook intentionally makes up the mind of users to keep the feature enabled on the name of providing better security and privacy.


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