Facebook seems to be experimenting with its own version of Apple’s “FaceID” using its own technology and algorithms.
The technology is intended to lock its Messenger application after use, and was uncovered by Jane Manchun and shared on Twitter.
Facebook has not responded to an inquiry for a comment.
If it’s unclear why Facebook would not use the device’s own biometric tech as WhatsApp does.
The new feature could be an acceptable use case for facial recognition, one that would see less backlash from its vast user base, since the authentication decision does not leave the device. On the other hand, giving biometric enrollment permission to multiple vendors and not relying on a limited set of service providers could be an issue.
Facebook has been under pressure since it announced plans to add end-to-end encryption to both Instagram and Messenger. Adding a facial recognition feature could be an "alternative" security measure.
Meanwhile, the company lost its Supreme Court review request last week over its use of facial recognition, and there is an indirect backlash over the claims in the U.S. that a vendor has scraped billions of images from the platform for its own purposes.
Apple's FaceID is based on the hardware deployed, rather than just an algorithm using the camera itself. If Facebook can develop a normal camera alternative to hardware biometrics that works well in real world conditions, that would be a success commercially.