Facebook is about to pay a whopping US$650 million (~RM2.6 billion) to settle a class-action privacy lawsuit claiming that the social media company used facial recognition tech and data without user consent, the Associated Press said. Nearly 1.6 million Facebook users in the US state of Illinois is set to receive compensation of at least US$345 (~RM1,398).
The lawsuit alleged that Facebook’s face-tagging feature violated a state law requiring companies obtain permission before applying facial recognition technologies to users, the Chicago Tribune reported. Since then, Facebook has reportedly modified its face-tagging feature.
According to CNET, Facebook initially proposed a settlement of US$550 million (~RM2.2 billion) last year, but the judge overseeing the case said it wasn’t enough. So Facebook raised the figure by US$100 million, paving the way for the judge’s recent approval of the settlement.
The social media company may have dodged a bullet here. According to Ars Technica’s calculations based on the Illinois law, Facebook could’ve been liable to pay as much as US$35 billion (~RM141.9 billion) if the suit went to trial and didn’t go its way.
Facebook said it was “pleased” to reach a settlement as putting this matter behind is in the best interest of its community and shareholders, the AP reported.
Still, Facebook isn’t the only major social media company to get into recent legal trouble over privacy. TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, was also sued for privacy violations and recently agreed to pay $US92 million (~RM372.6 million) to settle the lawsuits.