Why Facebook will stop using its facial recognition system. Facebook, which recently rebranded itself as Meta, is doing away with its facial recognition system and will delete the facial scan data of more than a billion users.
The decade-old facial recognition system was a feature that had fueled privacy concerns, a class-action lawsuit, government investigations, and regulatory hurdles.
Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Meta, wrote in a blog post Tuesday that the social media giant was getting rid of the program because of “many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society.”
Pesenti added that the company still found usefulness with the software, but wanted to strike “the right balance” in using it.
The initial facial recognition feature was introduced in 2010 so that Facebook users could automatically get suggestions on who to tag in an image with a click, linking that person’s Facebook account with the image.
The feature was meant to save users time, but it quickly made Facebook one of the largest stockpiles of digital photos in the world.
Facebook is not the first big tech company to get rid of its facial recognition software.
IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft have halted or stopped selling their facial recognition products altogether to law enforcement in recent years, while expressing privacy concerns and pushing for more regulation.
There were $20K of fraudulent charges on her debit card. Why didn’t the bank notice?
Deborah Tennyson says she’s a pretty predictable customer when it comes to her business checking account.
The self-employed woman said she buys infrequently and locally — not online — and anyone could look at her statements and see a pattern to her purchases.
So it was a surprise when she tried to use her debit card on Sept. 23 and it was declined.
She went to her branch, TD Bank in Fort Lee, to see what was wrong with her account.
“My business debit card was used for over 200 suspicious transactions in the span of 30 days,” she said, noting she didn’t notice earlier because she does not use online banking but instead relies on mailed monthly bank statements.
The fraudulent charges added up to nearly $20,000.
The very first charge was on Aug. 16 to a money transfer service. Then they came in from all over the place, including online payments to Progressive Insurance and GEICO, a taco joint, a children’s clothing store and DoorDash. On a single day in September, there were 57 separate Facebook Pay charges at $50 each.
TD Bank’s fraud system wasn’t alerted to any of them.
“Even the bank representative was like: ‘Why didn’t they flag that?’” Tennyson said. “She said she could see what was a fraudulent charge and what was not.”
Tennyson submitted a fraud report.
Five days later, she received notification from TD Bank.
“Based on our investigation, we have determined that fraud did not occur,” the letter said.
“I was devastated. Devastated. That’s 20-grand,” she said.
Shocked that her dispute was denied, she called the bank’s 800-number, she said. The representative recommended she file a police report.
She did, but the officers said because the charges were not made locally, the department didn’t have the manpower to investigate it.
Returning to her local branch, she submitted another fraud complaint on Oct. 5 along with the police report and proof that she had filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
“They have laws,” she said. “I’m not responsible.”
Weeks went by without a word, so she called to check up on her case.
A representative said it could take up to 90 days to be resolved, she said she was told, and she should go back to the bank branch to see if they had any updates.
“I spoke to the bank manager. She said this was ridiculous. She could see people had looked at the file but there was no resolution yet,” Tennyson said.
They decided to file the claim again, this time with a notarized affidavit of fact signed by Tennyson. It was sent on Oct. 21.
Worried that her dispute could be denied again, she asked Bamboozled for help.
We reviewed the list of unauthorized charges, Tennyson’s affidavit and the denial letters from TD Bank.
It seemed pretty obvious that there was unusual activity on the account, especially the 57 charges for $50 on the same date.
And given the timeframe, her case seemed like a slam dunk.
According to the FTC: “If someone makes unauthorized transactions with your debit card number, but your card is not lost, you are not liable for those transactions if you report them within 60 days of your statement being sent to you.”
Tennyson said she never lost possession of her card.
We asked TD Bank to take another look.
Two days later, Tennyson received a call.
“They’re going to return the money,” she said. “The rep was able to look at everything and said it was absolutely aggressive the way they were spending. She agreed it was fraud.”
The representative told Tennyson the money would be back into her account within a day.
We asked TD Bank why it’s fraud system didn’t pick up anything suspicious.
It said it thoroughly investigates fraud complaints.
“Protecting the security of our customers’ personal and account information is something we take very seriously,” spokeswoman Paige Wilkins said. “In each individual case, we take appropriate action based on the findings of our investigations.”
She said she couldn’t discuss the details of the case because of privacy concerns, but confirmed it “achieved a positive resolution for the customer.”
“Go figure. Sounds generic,” Tennyson said, laughing, in response to the bank’s statement.