Facebook on Tuesday said it will shut down its facial recognition system amid growing concerns of breach of privacy, AFP reported. Faces of more than one billion people will be deleted from the social networking platform’s database.

“There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use,” Facebook’s parent company Meta said in a statement. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.”

Meta is yet to announce the date it will start deleting the pictures. The company said that the changes will be widely felt as more than 33% of Facebook users had opted for the facial recognition system.

The facial recognition system has earned Facebook many lawsuits from users with the majority of them claiming that the company did not take consent of an individual before storing their pictures, The Guardian reported.

In 2020, Facebook’s parent company paid $650 million or Rs 48,000 crore approximately to settle a lawsuit brought by users from the United States who claimed the firm had created and stored scans of their faces without permission. In 2012, a Facebook application to introduce facial recognition in the European Union had to be taken off the internet because there was no provision to get a user’s consent.

Meta’s Vice President of Artificial Intelligence Jerome Pesenti said that if the company planned to use facial recognition technology in the future it would “continue to be public about intended use”. He also said that people will have control over these systems and their personal data.

Meanwhile, revelations from a former Facebook employee, Frances Haugen, has shed light on the social media platform’s failure to curb misinformation. In India, it was found that Facebook’s algorithm led a dummy user to misinformation, hate speech and violent content three weeks after the account was opened.

In the wake of these revelations, Meta has stopped developing a version of Instagram for 10- to 12-year-olds, The Guardian reported.