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Meta to settle Texas lawsuit over Facebook facial recognition data

Post Time:2024-06-05 Source:Reuters Author:Mike Scarcella Views:

Meta’s Facebook (META.O) has agreed to settle a lawsuit by the state of Texas that accused the social media giant of illegally using facial-recognition technology to collect biometric data of millions of Texans without their consent.

Meta and Texas said in a court filing in Texas state court on Friday that they have agreed in principle to resolve the lawsuit, filed in 2022.

They asked a judge to pause the case for 30 days to allow the sides to finish the deal and present it to the court. The filing did not spell out the terms of the settlement.

Meta declined to comment on Friday, and the Texas attorney general's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Meta previously said the "claims are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously."

Jury selection in the lawsuit was due to begin on June 17.

The lawsuit was the first major case to be brought under Texas' 2009 biometric privacy law, according to law firms tracking the litigation. A provision of the law provides damages of up to $25,000 per violation.

Texas accused Facebook of capturing biometric information “billions of times” from photos and videos that users uploaded to the social media platform as part of a free, discontinued feature called “Tag Suggestions.”

The technology could recognize a Facebook user’s friends in a photo and suggest that the user “tag” that person.

Facebook said in a court filing that it provided "clear notice" that explained the feature to users and gave them control over its use. The company in late 2021 said it was moving to end its facial recognition system.

Meta separately agreed to pay $650 million in 2020 to settle a biometric privacy class action that was brought under an Illinois privacy law that is considered one of the nation's most stringent. The company denied wrongdoing.

The case is State of Texas v. Meta Platforms, 71st Judicial District, Harrison County, No. 22-0121.