Facebook integrates facial recognition technology into messaging app

November 10, 2015 - 

Facebook has integrated its facial recognition technology into its Messenger app for Australian users, with plans to roll it out in other global markets in the coming weeks, according to a report by Recode.

The social media giant has been using facial recognition technology since 2010 for its automatic tagging feature, which identifies people in photos posted by users and suggests them to “tag” their friends.

With this latest integration, the messaging app will now analyze the user’s photos, identify the people in them, and ask users if they want to share said photos with the friends who appear in them.

Messenger product manager Peter Martinazzi said the facial recognition capability is intended to promote sharing via Messenger, particularly within groups of users.

Facebook is actively integrating artificial intelligence technology into its consumer products, such as adding facial recognition capabilities in its photo storage app, Moments, in June.

The company is also testing a virtual assistant within Messenger to help users perform daily tasks such as shopping or managing their calendars, as part of an overall effort to keep users engaged with the app.

“We like to look at the use cases for what people are doing now and what people could be doing, and how could we make it even easier,” said Martinazzi, who added that Facebook users sent 9.5 billion photos via Messenger in October. “Lots of times [artificial intelligence] can be a great tool for that.”

Messenger’s new facial recognition feature can be disabled in settings.

Previously reported, Facebook requested that a federal judge throw out a potential class-action lawsuit alleging that the company is violating an Illinois privacy law by retaining a database of “faceprints”.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.