Facebook will pay $550 million in Settlement for improperly collecting biometric data

Previously, Facebook was fined $5 billion from the Federal Trade Commission for its data privacy practices involving the Cambridge Analytica Scandal and now months later the social media giant is once again in the headlines with a heavy price tag due to its privacy practices.

On Wednesday, the tech behemoth revealed that it finally reached a $550 million settlement against the lawsuit class-action over the facial recognition software of the company.

The lawyers involved in this lawsuit state this settlement as the largest cash settlement for a privacy-related lawsuit and for now this settlement needs to be approved by the presiding District court.

The lawsuit action against Facebook was taken by an Illinois-based Facebook user who accused the tag suggestion feature of Facebook which predicts the Facebook users in photos through the biometric facial data gathered by the platform without the consent from users and by doing that Facebook was allegedly violating the biometric privacy law of Illinois which is considered to be the strictest law of the country. Even though Facebook denied any of such wrongdoings but this Illinois law pretty much stopped Facebook which is making all other tech firms nervous who are doing similar stuff.

According to the calculations of Bloomberg, Facebook is saving itself from paying a higher fee by paying a settlement fee now as the violation of such law could result in Facebook paying more than $6 billion.

This $550 million settlement by Facebook came during the time when Facebook was being accused of doing a variety of practices involving violations of user privacy and antitrust concerns to the political advertising policy of the firm as well.

This huge settlement amount by Facebook is notable because the criticism against the Facial-recognition software is increasing day by day and this isn’t the first time Facebook is accused of its facial-recognition practices as back in 2012, Facebook was forced to deactivate its technology for the European users due to a huge criticism from regulators.

Facebook will also be providing a ‘clear and conspicuous notice’ to the users regarding the software and will also be obtaining additional permissions from the users as part of its agreement with the FTC.

The social media giant reached a $550 million settlement with the users of Illinois and this settlement is for sure a mere drop for Facebook as the quarterly earnings report of Facebook show that the revenue generated by the platform rose to $21 billion at the end of 2019 and the company’s earnings also show an increase of nine percent in the Facebook’s user base.

During all this, CEO Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook was calm and optimistic about the earnings report call of the company.

Zuckerberg also addressed the issues faced by the company regarding the privacy of users and also discussed about the various steps the platform is taking to avoid such plague in future and even though it will take time but according to the CEO, the reputation of the social network will be back again in the future.

Photo: Reuters

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