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Unreleased Facebook app allowed users to facially recognize almost everyone

/ 06:37 PM November 26, 2019
augmented reality, facebook

Image: AFP/Leon Neal via AFP Relaxnews

Over the weekend, Business Insider reported on an app that Facebook was developing over 2015 and 2016 which let employees simply point their phone cameras at colleagues and friends to identify them. The project has since been discontinued.

Once again, Facebook is coming under fire for endangering the privacy of its users — this time, the threat goes back to 2015. As reported by Business Insider, the company had been developing an application that could identify people in real-time by just pointing a smartphone camera at them. According to Business Insider’s anonymous sources, the project has been discontinued.

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The app was never released publicly, but it was used internally by company employees. A particular version of the application could identify anyone with an account on the social media platform if enough data was available to do so; a few seconds after directing a phone’s camera at another person, their name and Facebook profile picture would appear. Facebook, however, disputed this detail with CNET.

In defending this technology, Facebook stated that “As a way to learn about new technologies, our teams regularly build apps to use internally… The app described here were only available to Facebook employees, and could only recognize employees and their friends who had face recognition enabled.”

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In any case, the app was discontinued three years ago. Nevertheless, the fact that a company that has become infamous for privacy concerns has access to such technology has prompted consternation. IB/JB

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TOPICS: Apps, Facebook, Facebook App, facial recognition, privacy issues
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