Is Instagram using filters to track your biometrics? This lawsuit says “yes”
Companies like Facebook, TikTok, & Snapchat have become a staple to so many avid media socialites. With new features coming out like facial recognition, the companies are consistently excelling in their technological prowess. Though many are tethered to these social media platforms, it certainly doesn’t come without possible risks.
It goes without saying that any technology company can have the potential to abuse user data. Even ones we’re inclined to trust. According to Daily Mail, a new class-action lawsuit has emerged against Facebook claiming that Instagram (Facebook’s adjacent social media platform) uses filters to collect facial recognition information on its users without their knowledge or consent.
Facebook firmly denies these claims, but as the details unfold, Facebook will be forced to fervently fight back in the urgent lawsuit. Is Instagram harvesting biometric data without user consent? Here’s everything we know about the lawsuit so far.
A spokesperson for Facebook responded to the lawsuit, affirming that Instagram doesn’t use the face recognition tools that Facebook has in its arsenal. Spokesperson Stephanie Otway’s statement insisted, “This suit is baseless. Instagram doesn’t use Face Recognition technology.”
Moreover, Otway emphasized that Instagram’s data policy protects user security – ensuring that users would be asked for their consent before Face Recognition technology would be allowed. The policy reads:
“If we introduce face-recognition technology to your Instagram experience, we will let you know first, and you will have control over whether we use this technology for you.”
Facebook’s lawsuit history
This lawsuit targeting Instagram for unauthorized biometric data collection isn’t Facebook’s first. In fact, just last month Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, settled a lawsuit for $650 million over the biometric collection from photo tagging tools.
The current lawsuit pointing at Instagram accuses Facebook of doing something very similar to their previous case. The company stands accused of collecting, storing & profiting from the biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without their knowledge or consent.
According to the suit, Facebook started informing Instagram users of its biometric data collection only at the beginning of this year. Though Facebook may have been using biometric data for much longer.
Instagram’s biometric violation
Fears about biometric data collection & storage are also concerning because this personal information could be shared with unknown third parties. The plaintiffs elaborate on the charges:
“Once Facebook captures its Instagram users’ protected biometrics, it uses them to bolster its facial recognition abilities across all of its products, including the Facebook application, and shares this information among various entities. Facebook does all of this without providing any of the required notices or disclosures required by Illinois law.”
As stated, the Instagram lawsuit will be taking place in Illinois. Illinois privacy laws protect users’ privacy by barring unauthorized data collection. Under these principles, Facebook could be forced to pay $1000 for each user in the suit and up to $5000 if it was found to be reckless or intentional. At that rate, total fines could reach up to $500 billion.