Facebook’s Facial Recognition Technology Is Growing Bigger Than Ever

It’s no secret that Facebook is on a mission to collect as much of our information as possible. Data is how the company makes money, using likes, interests and history to target advertising to its users. And the platform’s facial recognition technology is one of the most effective—and insidious—methods it relies on to gather this info.

This tool has proven to be one of the most controversial when it comes to privacy regulations, but it’s only getting bigger. In fact, according to the company’s own research, its facial ID database could be the largest ever assembled.

While Facebook told Slate it doesn’t allow third parties to access facial data, the sheer amount of control the company has over our pictures is concerning. In response, many users have begun being more selective while uploading photos to the platform. However, such careful measures may be too, little too late; after all, the company already possesses billions of our pics.

“People gave their consent to sharing their photos in a different internet ecosystem,” Meredith Whittaker of the AI Now Institute told NBC News in March. “Now they are being unwillingly or unknowingly cast in the training of systems that could potentially be used in oppressive ways against their communities.”

If you’re worried about your pictures on Facebook, it’s a good idea to adjust their privacy settings and only upload photos you’re comfortable with the company scanning. It’s not much, but even small steps like this can help protect your data.

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