Facebook will now pay a whopping $650 million over a facial recognition lawsuit

There are hardly any days when Facebook is not in the news for one issue after another. Sometimes it faces the brunt of its own somewhat careless policies and some mistakes that it did in the past that come to bite it in the present!

As per the latest report from Fortune, Facebook now has agreed to pay $650 million to settle a class-action lawsuit from the state of Illinois, over the use of facial recognition technology.

The court has ordered that the amount that Facebook will pay as the settlement will be distributed amongst the people of Illinois.

Problems are a constant companion of Facebook. Back in 2015, the company started using the “Tag Suggestions” feature that would use facial recognition technology to scan the pictures and automatically suggest the users that could be tagged by the users. While it was a good and time-saving thing for many Facebook users, millions of people in Illinois, unfortunately, felt otherwise, and they hit Facebook with a class-action lawsuit. It turned out that in the state of Illinois, there is a privacy law that says that no company or business can use biometric authentication processes including facial recognition technology without taking consent from the concerned party.

So, when Facebook started using the technology for its tagging feature, millions of Facebook users from Illinois found it a violation of their privacy law, and things continued to become difficult for the company.

Facebook even stopped scanning faces in 2019, but the lawsuit was still there, and the pressure on Facebook increased further when the entire country started chanting against facial recognition and started asking for a permanent ban on this technology.

In January, Facebook agreed to pay $550 million as the settlement payment, but the judge rejected the deal as the money was not enough and would have resulted in $150 to $300 as a payout for the Facebook users of Illinois whose picture appeared on the site after 2011.

If Facebook had lost the case completely, it would have to pay $47 billion, and the people of Illinois would have received approximately $5000 as a full payout.

However, now that Facebook has agreed on $650 million to settle this issue once and for all, the people of Illinois will get up to $400 per person as a payout.

Considering the billions that Facebook would have lost on a single lawsuit is quite a shuddering thought, and the current settlement amount seems a lot better in comparison to what it would have had to pay otherwise. Although it is a very hefty sum too. But if it can keep Facebook from running into more troubles anytime soon, anything is better than that!

Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images

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