Meta: No More Instagram Filters For Texas And Illinois Users Due To Face Recognition Laws
Photo Credit: Canvas

Photo Credit: Canvas

Meta: No More Instagram Filters For Texas And Illinois Users Due To Face Recognition Laws

Gear/Tech , Illinois , news , texas
Brunno Braga
Brunno Braga May 13, 2022

If you’re from Texas or Illinois and love to apply Instagram filters to the photos of your travels or any other event, this may be bad news for you. After being sued by Texas for violating the state’s privacy protection for personal biometric data in February, Meta, the parent organization of Facebook and Instagram, started on Wednesday (May 11) to disable the use of certain Instagram filters in Texas. The lawsuit was filed by Attorney General Ken Paxton. Meta is doing the same procedures in the state of Illinois.

As CBS’ West Texas reported, the Texas law on facial recognition, named The Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act, establishes that a company get the consent of users if they end up storing their biometric data. According to Paxton, the social media company was not complying with this requirement.

Paxton said in an official statement that the company’s capture of facial geometry in photographs that users uploaded from 2010 to late last year resulted in “tens of millions of violations” of Texas law.

“Facebook has been secretly harvesting Texans’ most persona information—photos and videos—for its own corporate profit,” Paxton stated. “Texas law has prohibited such harvesting without informed consent for over 20 years. While ordinary Texans have been using Facebook to innocently share photos of loved ones with friends and family, we now know that Facebook has been brazenly ignoring Texas law for the past decade,” he added.

As for Illinois’ case, U.S. District Judge James Donato approved last year a historic $650 million settlement to resolve claims that Meta collected and stored users’ facial data without consent in violation of an Illinois privacy law. In March, the judge scheduled a status conference for May 26 to discuss the next steps in the case.

Meta’s Response

Meta said in an official statement that the company has decided to disable the use of “any filters using facial geometry, like augmented reality filters, cannot be used within state lines” in both states in accordance with the Texas and Illinois laws. However, the giant tech company emphasized that it is working to prevent litigation processes in those two states based on a misunderstanding of how its technology work:

“The technology we use to power augmented reality effects like avatars and filters is not facial recognition or any technology covered by the Texas and Illinois laws and is not used to identify anyone. We remain committed to delivering AR experiences that people love and that a diverse roster of creators use to grow their businesses, without needless friction or confusion.”

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