Facebook has said that it holds the patents to eye tracking technology but has so far denied developing or using it. Eye tracking could reveal possible specific interest that the consumers hold, thus improving the content as well as advertisement targeting towards them.
Facebook in its 229-page response to the questions that were put to it at the hearings of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee said, “Like many companies, we apply for a wide variety of patents to protect our intellectual property. Right now we’re not building technology to identify people with eye-tracking cameras.”
“If we implement this technology in the future, we will absolutely do so with people’s privacy in mind, just as we do with movement information (which we anonymize in our systems).”
Facebook holds two patents to the present effect and the first one called Techniques for Emotion Detection and Content Delivery was filed in February 2014. The second one is called Dynamic Eye Tracking Calibration and was filed in October 2017. According to the social media company the “eye-based identity” technology could be used to lower “consumer friction” while adding security for logging into Oculus VR headsets.
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Senate committee chairperson John Thune of South Dakota, posed questions to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the hearing which were unanswered at the time and Facebook has now replied back saying, “We believe that it’s important to communicate with people about the information that we collect and how people can control it. Privacy is at the core of everything we do, and our approach to privacy starts with our commitment to transparency and control.”