Facebook, which has received much attention due to privacy concerns, said on 21st November 2019 that it built an internal application that allows employees to recognize colleagues and friends who allow facial recognition by pointing phone cameras at them. According to an earlier report, the app has not yet been released publicly. Citing anonymous sources, the app was developed between 2015 and 2016 but has since been discontinued. The company reports that a version of the app can identify anyone on a social network and can be identified as long as there is enough data. Facebook acknowledges that it has developed a facial recognition app, but has expressed controversy about any member of the social network it can recognize.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a comment to CNET: “As a way to learn new technologies, the team regularly builds apps that can be used internally.” “The apps described here is only for Facebook employees, and only recognize employees and friends who had face recognition enabled. The app is still in its early stages. The app highlights how Facebook has tried some features that may exacerbate the anxiety of people who are concerned about privacy. It was established before the Cambridge Analytical scandal of 2018, which triggered more scrutiny of Facebook and its efforts to protect user privacy. The British political consultancy collected data from as many as 87 million Facebook users without its consent. After the scandal, the Federal Trade Commission imposed a record US$ 5 Bn fine on Facebook for privacy incidents.
Facebook has also been criticized for using facial recognition in the past. The center that filed a lawsuit in 2015 mentioned the ability to add a “tag” to your Facebook photo, which accused Facebook of violating the Illinois Biometric Privacy law. When people “tags” in a photo, it generates a link to the Facebook profile. This point was previously enabled by default unless individuals choose not to enable it, but Facebook has chosen to enable it this year.