Texas Sues Meta Over Facebook’s Facial Recognition

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Feb 15, 2022

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The US state of Texas has filed a lawsuit against Meta for collecting and using facial recognition data without permission.

Texas’s attorney general has accused Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, of collecting and commercializing biometric data. The attorney general, Ken Paxton, filled a lawsuit on Monday and said that the company’s practices were unlawful and conducted without obtaining permission.

In a statement, Paxton decried Facebook’s actions as typical of “Big Tech” corporations.

“Facebook will no longer take advantage of people and their children with the intent to turn a profit at the expense of one’s safety and well-being,” he said. “This is yet another example of Big Tech’s deceitful business practices and it must stop. I will continue to fight for Texan’s privacy and security.”

Facebook is the world’s largest social network and is the most used by Americans. But the company has been the subject of numerous lawsuits in the past over its personal data and privacy practices.

Texan law requires companies to obtain “informed consent” from their users before collecting and using their biometric data. Furthermore, they should now disclose  the collected data publicly, unless required by law enforcement. 

The attorney general’s lawsuit claims that Facebook violated the law when it collected facial recognition data from millions of Texans without obtaining consent from them. It also accused the social network platform of failing to destroy the collected data within a reasonable timeframe.

Texas’s lawsuit comes almost a year after a federal judge awarded a $650 million settlement to Illinois after it filed a similar suit. In that case, nearly 1.6 million Illinois Facebook users submitted complaints.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Texas will seek “hundreds of billions” of dollars in damages.

A Vigorous Defence

In a rebuttal, a spokesperson for Meta said, “These claims are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Facebook shut down its facial recognition system in November last year, citing user concerns. The company said it would delete the biometric data it collected of more than a billion people.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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