As Facebook and its family of apps face scrutiny over privacy and security issues globally including in India, a court in the US has approved a $650 million class action privacy lawsuit against the social network for allegedly using its facial recognition feature without the permission of its users.
According to a report in The Verge, judge James Donato of the Northern District of California approved the settlement in the Facebook privacy lawsuit that was filed in the state of Illinois in 2015.
The judge also ordered the 1.6 million members of the class-action lawsuit in Illinois, who submitted claims, to be paid “as expeditiously as possible.”
Facebook’s Tag Suggestions tool, which scanned faces in users’ photos, stored biometric data without users’ consent in violation of the Illinois law, claimed the lawsuit.
In 2019, Facebook made facial recognition on its platform opt-in only.
According to the order by Judge James Donato of the Northern District of California, the three named plaintiffs will each receive $5,000 and others in the class-action lawsuit will get at least $345 each, the report said late on Saturday.
Facebook said in a statement that “We are pleased to have reached a settlement so we can move past this matter, which is in the best interest of our community and our shareholders”.
Two years back, Facebook finally rolled out the face recognition feature, replacing the earlier “Tag Suggestions” settings that notified you if someone uploaded a photo and automatically tagged you in it.
“The Tag Suggestions setting, which only controls whether we can suggest that your friends tag you in photos or videos using face recognition will no longer be available,” Srinivas Narayanan, Applied Research Lead, Facebook AI, had said in a statement.