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Facebook built a facial-recognition app that let employees identify people by pointing a phone at them

Facebook, which has been under fire because of privacy concerns, said Thursday it built an internal app that allowed employees to identify their colleagues and friends who enabled facial recognition by pointing their phone cameras at them. The app, reported earlier by Business Insider, wasn’t released publicly.

Citing anonymous sources, Business Insider reported the app was developed between 2015 and 2016 but has since been discontinued. One version of the app could identify anyone on the social network if there was enough data to do so, BI reported, citing an unnamed source.

Facebook acknowledged it had developed a facial recognition app, but disputed that it could identify any member of the social network.

“As a way to learn about new technologies, our teams regularly build apps to use internally,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNET. “The app described here were only available to Facebook employees, and could only recognize employees and their friends who had face recognition enabled.”

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