YouTube, Twitter ban face recognition firm
06 February 2020 08:15 GMT

Google-owned video service YouTube and micro-messaging site Twitter both said Wednesday that New York-based Clearview AI can no longer scrape their platforms for facial images.

The AI-based facial recogntion firm last week drew criticism due to investigative reports in January by the New York Times and Buzzfeed detailing its work on scraping social media for with law enforcement agencies.

“YouTube’s Terms of Service explicitly forbid collecting data that can be used to identify a person,” YouTube spokesman Alex Joseph said in a statement Wednesday. “Clearview has publicly admitted to doing exactly that, and in response we sent them a cease and desist letter.” The letter was sent Tuesday and first reported Wednesday by CBS. Twitter earlier sent a similar letter, according to the Times.

Clearview didn’t immediately return an emailed request for comment Wednesday, but its CEO Hoan Ton-That told CBS in an interview that it has a First Amendment right to the 3 billion images it has collected.

“The way we have built our system is to only take publicly available information and index it that way,” he told CBS.

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