Users have accused Facebook of violating an Illinois privacy law by using facial recognition on photos without explicit user consent. Now, a US federal judge in San Francisco, ruled that the company must face a major class action lawsuit, according to Reuters.
Facebook has been trying to get the accusations dismissed ever since it was sued in 2015 by users “in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after 7 June 2011.” The motions however, have been, denied.
“We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously,” Facebook responded.
The facial recognition algorithm was introduced in 2011 through the “tag suggestions” feature that looked for “face templates” in pictures uploaded on one’s profile.
Facebook estimates “90% of faces appearing in photographs are successfully detected, and of those detected faces, 85% are successfully aligned.”
“If you’ve never been tagged in a photo on Facebook or have untagged yourself in all photos of you on Facebook, then we do not have this summary information for you,” the company says.
Due to privacy regulations, the feature is not available in Europe and Canada. US users can turn it off from their settings menu.
This lawsuit means more headaches for the social network following recent senate hearings, Cambridge Analytica data collection scandal and evidence that it also tracks people’s phone calls and messages. Not only has the company allowed a third party to collect personal data of millions of users, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted to also tracking users who have no Facebook account, as part of its data-gathering for advertisers.