More than a million Illinois people will get a $397 settlement payout from Facebook this week due to a court dispute over the platform’s now-retired face recognition photo-tagging technology. It’s been nearly seven years since a class-action lawsuit accusing Facebook of violating a state privacy statute prohibiting firms from gathering biometric data without alerting users.
Since then, the site has experienced widespread international criticism over its facial recognition technology, and Meta stopped using it entirely on Facebook and Instagram last year. However, as noted by Vox, the business has made no guarantees to stop using face recognition in future goods.
Despite being filed in Illinois, the class-action case finally ended up in Facebook’s home territory — the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Nonetheless, the court rebuffed the platform’s several requests to dismiss the claim and finally certified the Illinois class-action lawsuit. Facebook attempted to appeal the case certification to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but their request was denied. After Facebook agreed to settle the complaint for $550 million — the highest settlement from an online privacy class-action lawsuit at the time — a federal court objected, saying the amount was insufficient. Finally, the corporation agreed to a $650 million settlement last year.
The problem was Facebook’s previous photo-tagging technology, which used face recognition to identify individuals in images and videos. Attorneys for citizens of Illinois claimed that the platform’s “Suggested Tags” function violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. Every Facebook user in Illinois who posted a photo of themselves or was tagged on the network was entitled to submit a claim during a specific time. The settlement included over 1.6 million Illinois residents in total.
The settlement website estimated compensation to Illinois residents ranging from $200 to $400 per individual, based on the number of successful claims. According to WTVO, more than 1.5 million qualified Facebook users in Illinois submitted a claim.
The settlement money began to be mailed on May 9, with many people in Illinois reporting $397 cheques arriving at their door.
Just over the border, when Illinois citizens open their mailboxes, to find $397 cheques as part of a multi-million dollar settlement with Facebook.
This week, a handful of Redditors reported getting settlement cheques by direct deposit or mail, although not everyone has gotten their reimbursement. “I completed mine and my wife’s at the same time and received one yesterday and one today.” “This was done through Zelle,” one Reddit member commented.
Those who chose to receive a cheque in the mail were taken aback by its unassuming look. “To be honest, I almost threw mine out.” It was sent in a brown recycled paper envelope. It felt just like a paper bag. “I was certain it was junk mail,” a Reddit member stated.