Facebook has made a lot of controversial privacy moves over the years, but perhaps none were as creepy and intrusive as forcing its members into downloading the company’s Moments app in order to save the destruction of their own photos.
Back when the app was first launched, millions of users received a notification which stated that if they refused to install the Moments app on their device, any of the synced photos on their account would be washed away into the digital aether.
But why was Facebook so intent on getting users to install the app? What possible motivation could they have for pigeonholing their userbase in such an abrasive fashion?
In a word, it all comes down to one thing: faceprints. But what are “faceprints”, and why does Facebook want to collect as many of them as they can?
Read on in our guide on how to delete the Moments app to find out.
What is Moments?
Moments is a mobile photo syncing/storage application that lets Facebook users automatically upload photos taken on their phone directly to the social network. These photos are stored in the “Synced Photos” album -- the very same one that Facebook would delete unless you downloaded the Moments app before the cutoff.
Moments is a useful app if you don’t like going through the standard Facebook application to get your photos onto your Feed. But for whatever convenience you might get out of not having to hit a few extra buttons in order to get your photos off your device and into the cloud, you’re sacrificing a whole lot more when it comes to your personal privacy.
What Data Does Moments Gather?
Aside from background information that can be pulled directly from a photo taken on a digital camera or smartphone (known as exif data), it seems that Facebook’s primary interest is in collecting facial recognition data.
See, the main draw of using the Moments app is that it can tag you or your connections in a photo automatically simply by reading the facial data of anyone caught in the image. You may recognize this feature when you use the desktop-based version of Facebook where after a photo is uploaded it will suggest people to be tagged to you based on the recognition of their face alone.
Moments scans the faces in every photo you sync to Facebook through the app. This data is used to further increase the sensitivity and accuracy of their AI-based recognition system, but it’s also logging all the faces it collects in a gigantic database of its user's mugs.
To what eventual end is Facebook gathering this data on everyone’s faces? No one really knows. The company says it’s strictly for the purpose of making their AI system smarter, though (if you’ll forgive the pun), we kind of have to take whatever they say in this department at face value.
How to Delete Moments from Android
If the idea of Facebook having a massive database of you and your friend’s faces sound just a bit too intrusive for your tastes, here’s how you can delete Moments from your Android device.
To start, find the Google Play icon from your phone’s home screen:
Next, type “Moments” into the search bar at the top of the window:
After the Moments icon appears, tap this and you’ll see a small button near the top of the screen labeled Uninstall:
Tap this and Moments will be deleted from your Android device!
How to Delete Moments on iOS
Deleting Moments is easier on iOS than on Android (just like everything else pretty much).
To delete Moments on iOS, simply find the icon for the application on your home screen. Tap on it and hold your finger there for about five seconds:
After this a small “X” should appear at the top-right corner of the icon. Tap this and the Uninstall button from the follow-up window, and Moments will be deleted from your iOS device!