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Facebook Pays Settlement Payment over a Legal Battle

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In a recent lawsuit settlement, over a million Illinois residents will receive a $397 settlement payment from Facebook. This is because of a legal battle over the platform’s photo-tagging system that used facial recognition.


Settlement Payment for Violating State Privacy


The class-action lawsuit was first filed in 2015 and accused Facebook of breaking a state privacy law that forbids companies from collecting biometric data without informing users. The platform has since faced broad, global criticism for its use of facial recognition tech, and last year Meta halted the practice completely on Facebook and Instagram. However, the company has made no promises to avoid facial recognition in future products.

Even though it was first filed in Illinois, the class-action lawsuit eventually wound up on Facebook’s home turf — at the U.S. District Court for Northern California. Nevertheless, the court repeatedly denied the platform’s many motions to dismiss the lawsuit and eventually certified the Illinois class-action. Facebook tried to appeal the case certification with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but was rejected.

After Facebook initially agreed to settle the lawsuit for $550 million — which at the time was the largest payout from an online privacy class-action lawsuit — a federal judge fought back and said the amount was too small. Finally, the company last year agreed to a settlement payment total of $650 million.


Facebook’s Old Photo-tagging System


The issue at hand was Facebook’s old photo-tagging system, which relied on facial recognition to recognize users in photos and videos. Attorneys representing Illinois residents argued that the platform’s “Suggested Tags” feature violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Any Facebook user in Illinois who posted a photo of themselves or was tagged on the platform during a certain time period was eligible to file a claim. Nearly 1.6 million Illinois residents in total were included in the settlement payment. A number of Redditors reported receiving their settlement payment checks via direct deposit or in the mail this week, though not everyone has received their payment yet.


Also Read: How did California End the Fight Against Net Neutrality Law?

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