In a new turn of events, Facebook has been accused of storing users’ biometric data (again) through its subsidiary, Instagram. The photo-sharing platform is having a photo tagging feature where it would be making photo templates of users, which will be stored on Facebook’s servers, all without the user’s consent.
Facebook Accused of Stealing Data, Yet Again!
The world’s largest social media platform has a new headache to deal with. In the case of Whalen v. Facebook, 20-civ-03346, Superior Court of California (Redwood City), Facebook was alleged for collecting and storing the user’s biometric data without their knowledge. But, it’s through Instagram this time.
Instagram was acquired by Facebook back in the day watching its popularity. The photo-sharing app was used by over 112 million users worldwide and has recently introduced a feature called Reels to take on TikTok’s popularity. Amongst the features it’s having, the facial tagging tool is something that recognizes the faces in the photo and tags their profiles to it.
And this feature has landed Facebook in trouble. The petitioners accuse the parent company of collecting this data and harvesting in their servers without their knowledge. It has promised to inform users whenever they’re collecting the sensitive data but failed to do so.
The company has agreed to pay a sum of $650 million last month for a similar accusation via its main Facebook platform. But this time, as per the Illinois laws, the violation can charge Facebook with at least $1,000 per user, and upto $5,000 if found the act is intentional. And this would sum a total of more than one billion considering the victims are more than 100 million.
Responding to this, Stephanie Otway, a Facebook spokesperson said in an email to Bloomberg as,
“This suit is baseless. Instagram doesn’t use face recognition technology.” Yet, users accused this act for at least not being optional, as the tool works automatically without their intervention.