Once again, Facebook is in trouble. Digital Trends reports that “Facebook will have to shell out $550 million to people in Illinois.” This time, it’s not over the illegal recording of messages. Instead, it’s due to face-tracking software they used without the consent of the people in Illinois.
The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (2008) prohibits companies from obtaining biometric data of their residents without consent. They classify biometric data as Retina scans, Iris scans, Fingerprints, Voiceprints, Hand scans, and Face geometry. How does this relate back to Facebook?
According to the Privacy Policies, in order for Facebook to have gained this information, they would have had to “achieve informed consent before collecting biometric data, have limited rights for disclosure, not profit, protect and retain the data.” If people were harmed by any of those restrictions, they can get “$1,000 per negligent violation or $5,000 per intentional violation.”
What Did Facebook Do?
They used their facial recognition software in 2015 to tag users faster in pictures without the user doing it themselves. More tagging leads to more notifications. More notifications equal increased time on the application. In the end, they profit due to higher user engagement. The higher the amount of time users spend on the application, several more advertisements can be thrown their way. If you didn’t know already, Facebook advertising is huge!
This is another big blow to this mogul of a company, who just spent over 6 million dollars on Super Bowl advertisements to put a positive light on their company after so much scandal. When will they stop violating privacy on social media?
Users have to be aware of privacy violations. Although your page may be private, your messages, photos, audio calls, and more are never truly private. Always be mindful of what you say and how much time you spend on Facebook. Facial recognition software is real, and in a couple of weeks, Facebook will be cutting a pretty large check for violating people’s privacy. Luckily for Mark Zuckerberg, $550 million is close to pocket change.