You can remove it by Right Clicking the Taskbar and clicking the button Show People Button. However in a corporate network, getting users to complete to click just isn't going to happen... the lazy gits!
Straightforward fix for this, but can be completed more than one way.
Method 1 - Update ADMX central store with 1709 Templates
Firstly and the one most admins will opt for is to update the ADMX templates to 1709 and copy the files to the Group Policy central store, which of course you have all configured. If you haven't DO IT.
1. First thing to do is to download the latest templates from MS.
2. Once downloaded extract the files within the installer. You can do this either by running the MSI package, which asks you a location to extract to or by using an extraction tool like Universal Extractor.
3. Personally at this point i like to just in case, take a copy of the PolicyDefinitions folder, just in case something isn't OK after.
3. Copy the ADMX files and your preferred language folder into your Group Policy Central Store, which is normally located at
4. Overwrite any files it asks to overwrite and merge the folders it asks to merge.
5. Allow it to replicate to all the DC's in your site and that's it. The new settings should appear in
User Config> Start Menu and Taskbar> Remove the People Bar from the taskbar
Method 2 - Disable in the Registry
The second more crude method is to simply update the registry using GPP (Group Policy Preferences).
1. Create or open a GPO.
2. Expand Preferences and then Windows Settings then select registry.
3. Create a new Update registry Item as shown below.
Set PeopleBand value to 0