Facebook to face class action lawsuit over facial recognition

Randall Padilla
April 17, 2018

A federal judge ruled that consumers in IL could proceed with a class action lawsuit over the facial recognition technology that helps Facebook power its Tag Suggestions tool. It has pledged to fight the class action lawsuit "vigorously", the BBC reports. Specifically, Facebook has created, collected and stored over a billion "face templates" (or "face prints") - highly detailed geometric maps of the face - from over a billion individuals, millions of whom reside in the State of IL.

The lawsuit alleges that Facebook gathered biometric information without users' explicit consent. It's a hot-button issue, as sweeping new European Union privacy legislation requires Facebook and other tech companies to get explicit permission for using the technology.

Boom, an independent digital journalism initiative certified through the International Fact-Checking Network, will review English language news stories flagged on Facebook, check facts, and rate their accuracy.

The company has altered the controversial feature in the time since it was first rolled out to users back in 2011 by adding a more direct notification alerting users to the facial recognition features.

If the lawsuit goes ahead, every member of the IL group could be entitled to compensation, potentially costing Facebook billions of dollars.

Facebook has been under intense scrutiny over fake news being delivered through the platform and the allegations that data analytics and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica mined the data of 80 million users without consent. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has called on the FTC to investigate Facebook's facial recognition practices since 2011.

What does the facial recognition do? On Facebook's help pages, the company says the face templates are made from information about the similarities in every photo the user has been tagged in. However, for the moment, users should be aware that their words and face are owned by Facebook and whoever else they decide to share the data with.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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