Facial recognition systems were the talk of science fiction, even just a decade ago. However, its recent widespread use in mobile technology, on social media, and as part of law enforcement practices has called into question serious privacy concern issues. And with limited regulations around how companies can use or even sell consumers’ facial recognition data, a long list of pros and cons as to its use are beginning to emerge. Here are the top three to consider.

Pro: Enhanced Security

In the era of increasingly sophisticated cyber hacks and data breaches, providing more security features is always welcomed. With mobile users being able to use facial recognition to unlock smartphones, the use of the technology overall has been seen by most as a useful tool. In addition, several cutting-edge buildings are now incorporating facial recognition systems for employees to gain access to their offices. In this way, an employer can track an employees whereabouts at any given time and ensure that access to important areas is highly restricted to certain individuals. For marketers, leveraging facial recognition systems can be a selling feature, especially for services that may require users to put in sensitive or personal information, such as health and fitness apps, online therapy, or even telemedicine.

Facial recognition is already widely used on social media with the tagging features on Facebook, as the app can identify other users in an image. And the recent popularity of Instagram and SnapChat filters have helped to squash the fear around facial recognition features on social media. 

Con: Data Storing Capacity

In today’s digital world, there are already approximately 2.7 zettabytes of data online.1 And as facial recognition adds even more data per every internet user, the amount of data to secure will likely increase by a factor of 10 every year. Storing sensitive information such as names and addresses are one thing, but having the full profile of a person, including their picture, opens up uncharted territory and significant concerns around consumer safety and privacy. As regulation catches up to the wave of new technology, marketers can expect to have to prove that robust, encrypted storage processes are in place to ensure that all consumer data is safe.

Pro: Marketing Tool

Facial recognition software adds yet another marketing metric that can be tracked and used to better understand target audiences. Marketers could tap into this technology to build more accurate and very detailed customer personas, down to the face shape, age,  or hair style of their audiences. In this way, marketers can look for physical traits or consumer demographic patterns that may not have been accessible otherwise. With this information, marketing messages can be further tailored to speak directly to the consumer, appealing to them in a whole new way. However, this assumes that marketers take the appropriate precautions to secure consumers’ stored facial recognition data and that they get permission from consumers before they collect facial recognition images.

The verdict is still out on how the government may begin regulating the use of facial recognition systems. However, as filters that leverage facial recognition software have gained traction on social media, marketers should take note and look for innovative ways to incorporate this technology. If you’re looking for the most cutting-edge marketing trends and resources, be sure to check out our blog for informative new updates.

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