Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, speaks during the opening of the annual Facebook developer … [+] Confernece F8 in San Jose, USA, April 18, 2017. The announced a new augmented reality platform in which virtual objects are integrated into the real environment. Photo: Andrej Sokolow / dpa | Worldwide usage (Photo by Andrej Sokolow / Image alliance via Getty Images)

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Facebook’s AR smart glasses are set to hit the market this year after nearly four years of hype, and apparently the company is considering integrating facial recognition technology. Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s head of augmented and virtual reality, said during a company-wide meeting on Thursday, reports Buzzfeed.

This casual announcement comes right after Facebook settled a privacy lawsuit promising to pay $ 650 million to users who claimed the company had scanned their faces without their consent using facial recognition technology in its photo tagging feature created and saved. The 2015 class action lawsuit filed in Illinois alleged that the scans violated the state’s Biometric Information Protection Act, which governs facial recognition, fingerprints, and other biometric information in the state.

That context could explain why Bosworth made sure Facebook only rolled out the software when people requested it later on Thursday night during an Instagram Q&A.

“It really is a debate that we need to have with the public,” he told supporters.

Bosworth told employees that the company is investigating the potential legal and privacy issues related to facial recognition technology.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, first introduced the concept of smart glasses at Facebook’s annual developer conference in 2017, but hasn’t said much on the subject since then. Zuckerberg said his biggest ethical concern was that the software could be abused by “authority structures”. Does the tech giant count as an authority structure?

With or without the creepy tech, Bosworth thinks the glasses are fine and said they “go well together”. Facebook is still working with Ray-Ban parent company Luxottica to make them. The glasses should come pretty close to normal high-end glasses – not the bulky AR headsets currently available – and overlay digital objects in the field of view.

Facebook also has big plans for virtual reality. Oculus, the company that bought Facebook in 2014, is testing a beta version of Facebook Horizon, a social VR experience that allows users to explore, play, and create virtual worlds.

At the 2017 developer conference, Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Oculus, said: “In 20 or 30 years, I expect we’ll be wearing stylish smartphones instead of everywhere.”