Facebook has been under significant pressure from Irish data commission as well as regulators from other parts of European Union. The social network had been repeatedly asked to delete European facial recognition data, citing privacy concerns. Facebook has finally complied with that request.
Facebook’s move in not unexpected – the social network had announced last year that it would soon be deleting its European facial recognition data so as to prove to the regulators that it means no harm to the privacy rights of the users. Back then, the company had turned off the feature for new users and was gearing up to delete the facial recognition data saved about the older users.
Commenting on Facebook’s deletion of the data, a spokesperson for the Irish data commission stated, “We recently reviewed the source code and execution process used in the deletion process and can confirm that we were satisfied with the processes used by Facebook to delete the templates in line with its commitment.”
The facial recognition feature essentially allows Facebook to suggest people that a person may tag in any photo he or she uploads. However, to accomplish this, the social network has to maintain a database of the users’ photos. Privacy activists have protested against this over the years and although Facebook has abandoned it in Europe, the feature it still functional for the U.S. users.
Apart from the Irish data commission, the German data protection regulators have also cited satisfaction over the deletion of data by the company, stating that the move settles the privacy issue surrounding Facebook.