On Wednesday, Instagram users in Texas and Illinois may have woken up, grabbed their phones, and been confused. They likely realized they no longer had access to certain filters on the app. The states have passed a new facial recognition law, which prevents them from using specific filters.
According to Fox West Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Instagram’s parent company Meta and accused them of misusing their facial recognition technology. The lawsuit says that companies are not allowed to use residents’ “biometric information and keep it stored within their systems without their consent or knowledge beforehand.”
Texas Lawsuit Claims IG Filters Steal Facial Identity Without Permission
In what has been identified as the Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act, some of the filters from the app were accused of having the ability to learn a user’s face and mechanically tagging the person or associate the person with an image. The lawsuit claims this usually happens without permission from the user.
Therefore, filters that used facial geometry and augmented reality filters cannot be used within state lines. However, filters that alter the color or background of an image can be used.
The same thing is also happening in Illinois as they have the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.
The Communications Team at Meta responded to disabling certain filters and said,
“The technology we use to power augmented reality effects like avatars and filters is not facial recognition or any technology covered by the Texas and Illinois laws and is not used to identify anyone. Nevertheless, we are taking this step to prevent meritless and distracting litigation under laws in these two states based on a mischaracterization of how our features work. We remain committed to delivering AR experiences that people love, and that a diverse roster of creators use to grow their businesses, without needless friction or confusion.”
Attorney Ken Paxton filed the Texas lawsuit back in February of this year. There has been no decision made or no settlement yet. As a measure, it seems that some filters have been disabled within those states.
A rep for Meta has confirmed to The Shade Room that soon they will introduce a new opt-in experience that explains how AR effect placement works as they resume delivery of their services in Texas and Illinois across their apps and devices. They also made it clear that the technology is not facial recognition.
Want updates directly in your text inbox? Hit us up at 917-722-8057 or click here to join!
TSR STAFF: Jade Ashley @Jade_Ashley94