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Texas AG Files Suit Against Facebook Over Facial Recognition

After settling a similar Illinois lawsuit last year for $650 million, Facebook is again facing a legal challenge from a state for its use of facial recognition. This time it’s Texas that’s taking the fight to the company.

Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. faces a lawsuit alleging the company violated Texas law by using facial recognition on individuals without their permission.

According to The Texas Tribune, the suit was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said the company broke a 2009 consent law and “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.”

“This is yet another example of Big Tech’s deceitful business practices, and it must stop,” Paxton said.

A Meta spokesperson dismissed the lawsuit as invalid. In November, Facebook stopped using facial recognition and promised to delete any templates used to recognize people’s facial characteristics.

“This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history,” wrote Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence for Meta. “More than a third of Facebook’s daily active users have opted in to our Face Recognition setting and are able to be recognized, and its removal will result in the deletion of more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates.”

Last year, Facebook had to spend $650 million to settle a similar lawsuit that alleged the company violated Illinois law with its facial recognition practices, with 1.6 million people receiving at least $345 each from the settlement.

This news comes in the wake of multiple questions raised about the sustainability of Facebook and an announcement that the Internal Revenue Service would abandon its planned facial recognition requirement for online services.