Facebook Built a Facial Recognition App To Identify Employees

Facebook Built a Facial Recognition App To Identify Employees

Facebook is again under fire for its controversial facial recognition technology. The tool used facial recognition in real-time to identify people just by pointing a smartphone camera at them.  

Business Insider was the first one to break out the story and according to them, the app was in use between 2015 and 2016. It has since been discontinued. According to anonymous sources, the tool was able to pull up the Facebook profile of a person using facial recognition capabilities. The tool was allegedly tested on the employees of Facebook and their friends who had facial recognition activated on their profiles.  

Source: (Twitter)

Facebook confirmed the existence of the app but denied it could identify people on the social material. Facebook published a statement to CNET saying, 

“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.”

The app was developed before the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook has been the subject of multiple scandals over the last few years, and for this reason, the Delete Facebook movement continues to gain pace. Back in October, it was reported that Facebook was working on AI that could circumvent facial recognition and help fight deepfakes.

facebook launches

Facebook Launches a New Payment System Following Libra

Facebook Pay is a new payment system launched by Facebook for all the apps under the Facebook umbrella including Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Facebook Pay is designed to facilitate payments across all social networks. According to Deborah Liu, Vicepresident of Marketplace and Commerce, Facebook Pay is introduced to provide “convenient, secure and consistent payment experience” for all people across the Facebook platform. 

Through Facebook Pay, you will be able to send money to your friends, buy stuff online or even donate to charities online. Facebook Pay will begin rolling out on Messenger and Facebook in the US this week. Initially, the payment system will be available for fundraisers, event tickets, in-game purchases, person-to-person payments and even purchases from some businesses that operate on Facebook’s Marketplace. 

Facebook Launches Libra

According to Facebook’s Newsroom, Facebook Pay is an entirely different entity than Facebook’s new Calibra wallet and the Libra network. The payment system can be accessed through the setting sections of Facebook or Messenger apps. The payment system will support most debit and credit cards along with PayPal. 

 

Source: Facebook

Facebook Pay comes just weeks after a substantial number of companies dropped out of Libra. PayPal – the nonprofit company that oversees the creation and rollout of the cryptocurrency. – was one of the first companies to disassociate from the Libra Association. For right now, Libra doesn’t have the backing of most major US payment processors. This still hasn’t stopped Facebook from expanding in the digital payment industry with Facebook Pay. 

Face Detection Tool to Fight Bots Under Trial by Facebook

Face Detection Tool to Fight Bots Under Trial by Facebook

Facebook is currently battling a $35 billion class-action lawsuit for alleged misuse of facial recognition data. This still hasn’t stopped the California based social network giant from testing another facial detection feature that could make users queasy. 

Hong Kong-based reverse engineering app researcher, Jane Manchun Wong, tweeted screenshots on November 5.

Face Detection Tool

 

According to Wong, the company is testing verification features that require users to place their faces in a circle and then record a video as they rotate their heads slowly. This is done to prove that they are humans and not bots. 

Facial Recognition based identity verification

According to Facebook, the video selfies will be deleted after 30 days and will not be seen by others. Facebook talked to VentureBeat about the new tool and vehemently denied the use of this tool for facial recognition. A spokesperson for Facebook told VentureBeat

“Instead, it detects motion and whether a face is in the video.”

 

Face verification online

 

Facebook talked to Endaget and asserted that although this tool is under trial, it “does not use facial recognition.” The only purpose is to detect movements to make sure you are a human and not a bot. This means that Facebook is still storing data but isn’t using it for facial recognition purposes. 

US tech giants are under unprecedented inspection over the handling and usage of client’s data due to numerous scandals. One such scandal involves Facebook and the exposure of data of millions of its users to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. From July next year, new privacy law will be effective in California that will allow the users to know what kind of personal information companies are looking for and how they are using it. 

Facebook New AI Can Help You Circumvent Facial Recognition

Facebook’s New AI Can Help You Circumvent Facial Recognition

Facial recognition technology is primarily used to detect and identify people but in a turn of events, Facebook has created a tool that fools the facial recognition technology to wrongly identify someone. Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research Team (FAIR) has developed an AI system that can “de-identify_ people in pre-recorded videos and live videos in real-time as well. 

This system uses an adversarial auto-encoder paired with a trained facial classifier. An auto-encoder is an artificial neural network that studies a description for a set of data unsupervised. Classifiers usually employ an algorithm to chart input data. The face classifier deals with data associated with facial images and videos. This slightly distorts a person’s face in such a way as to confuse facial recognition systems while maintaining a natural look that remains recognizable by humans. The AI doesn’t have to be retrained for different people or videos and there is only a little time distortion. 

According to Facebook, “Recent world events concerning advances in, and abuse of face recognition technology invoke the need to understand methods that deal with de-identification. Our contribution is the only one suitable for video, including live video, and presents a quality that far surpasses the literature methods.” 

Over the course of some years, deepfake videos have become common in which a person’s face can be edited into videos of other people. These deepfake videos have become so convincing and advanced that it can be difficult to tell the real ones from the fake ones.  

This de-identification program is built to protect people from such deepfake videos. 

In the paper, the researchers Oran Gafni, Lior Wolf, and Yaniv Taigman talked about the ethical concerns of facial recognition technology. Due to privacy threats and the misuse of facial data to create misleading videos, researchers have decided to focus on video de-identification. 

In principle, it works quite similarly to face-swap apps. This involves using a slightly warped computer-generated face through past images of them and then put on their real one. As a result, they look like themselves to a human but a computer cannot pick up vital bits of information which it could from a normal video or photo. You can watch this in action in this video here. 

According to the team, the software beat state-of-the-art facial recognition and was the first one to have done so on a video. It could also preserve the natural expressions of the person and was capable of working on a diverse variety of ethnicities and ages of both genders. 

Even though the software is extremely compelling, don’t expect this to reach Facebook anytime soon. Facebook told VentureBeat that there were no intentions to implement the research in its products. But with that said, the practical applications of the research are pretty clear. The software could be used to automatically thwart third parties using facial recognition technology to track people’s activity or create deepfakes. 

This research comes at such a time when Facebook is battling a $35 billion class-action lawsuit for alleged misuse of facial recognition data in Illinois. Facebook isn’t the only one working on de-identification technology. D-ID recently released a Smart Anonymization platform that allows clients to delete any personally identifying information from photos and videos.