New Decade, New Facebook? Facebook Reaches $550 Million Settlement in Facial Recognition Class Action, Agrees to Upgrade Privacy Safeguards

By Cameron Abbott, Max Evans and Florence Fermanis

Facebook is in the news again, but this time it’s not for the Cambridge Analytica scandal that took over our screens in 2019. Facebook has agreed to pay $550 Million USD to settle a class action which claimed that it had collected and stored biometric information belonging to millions of users without their consent, according to reports by Reuters and TechXplore.

According to the reports, the relevant users alleged that Facebook illegally collected biometric data through its ‘Tag Suggestions’ feature, which allowed users to recognise Facebook friends from uploaded photographs.

The class action commenced in 2015 as an alleged breach of the Illinoisan Biometric Information Privacy Act, and whilst Facebook did not admit to any wrongdoing, the users’ representatives have heralded the settlement as pivotal in establishing the right of users of technology products and services to control access to their data for facial recognition.

According to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, the settlement provides a commitment on Facebook’s behalf to implement privacy controls that set a new standard for the industry, “going beyond anything required by law”.

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