Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is unlikely to turn on E2EE by default until 2023. Recall that Facebook recently merged both apps sometime last year. Though users have access to turn it on, the feature does not come by default.
In a post in the Telegraph, Meta’s head of safety Antigone Davis said the delay has to do with user safety. Davis said Meta wants to ensure that E2EE does not interfere with the platform’s ability to help curb criminal activities.
Once the encryption feature becomes available by default, Davis said that Meta will “use a combination of non-encrypted data across our apps, account information and reports from users” to help keep them safe, all while “assisting public safety efforts.”
Facebook’s latest stand contradicts what the company said earlier. According to Facebook, the plan was to roll out E2EE by default in 2022.
Facebook is shutting down its Face Recognition feature. The company made this known earlier in the month in a blog post. Facebook, which recently rebranded to Meta, says the change will roll out in the coming weeks.
Facebook will also stop using facial recognition algorithms to tag people in photographs and videos as part of the coming change. It will delete the facial recognition templates that it uses for identification.
Jerome Pesenti, VP artificial intelligence at Meta, describes the change as part of “company-wide move to limit the use of facial recognition in our products.”
Facebook was embroiled in a privacy violation lawsuit that accused the company of violating Illinois’ biometric privacy law. This led to a $650 million settlement last February.
The change will also affect Automatic Alt Text [AAT] that creates image descriptions for blind and visually-impaired people. After the change, AAT descriptions will no longer include the names of people recognized in photos—this will function normally.
The social media giant said more than a third of its daily active users have opted into the Face Recognition setting. These users, according to Facebook, enabled people to be recognized.
The implication of the removal is that more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates will be deleted.