Facebook tested a facial recognition app on its employees that was capable of identifying their friends if they had facial recognition enabled.
The social media giant, which has recently been under fire for privacy concerns, disclosed that it built an internal facial recognition app.
The app allowed Facebook employees to identify their colleagues and friends by pointing their camera at them. After a few seconds, the app would display the person’s name and profile picture.
“The app described here were only available to Facebook employees, and could only recognize employees and their friends who had face recognition enabled,” the social media giant told CNET.
The app was being tested between 2015 and 2016 but was never released to the public. One version of the app was able to identify anyone on Facebook if there was enough data to do so.
Facebook previously received criticism for using facial recognition for a feature that suggested tags for users’ photos. It was the subject of a lawsuit in 2015 in Illinois, after which the feature became an opt-in option.
Earlier this year, the social media giant received a $5 billion USD (approximately $6.5 billion CAD) penalty from the Federal Trade Commission due to its privacy missteps.