Instagram Disables Certain Filters In Texas & Illinois Due To Facial Recognition Laws
On Wednesday Instagram users in both Texas and Illinois woke up upset when they realized they no longer had access to certain filters through Instagram. Turns out the states have passed a new facial recognition law, which prevents them from using certain filters.
According to Fox West Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Instagram’s parent company Meta and accused them of misusing their facial recognition technology. In the lawsuit, it says that companies are not allowed to use residents’ “biometric information and keep it stored within their systems without their consent or knowledge beforehand.”
In what has been identified as the Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act, some of the filters from the app are being accused of having the ability to learn a user’s face and mechanically tagging the person or associate the person with an image. The lawsuit claims this usually happens without permission from the user.
Therefore, filters that use facial geometry and augmented reality filters cannot be used within state lines. However, filters that alter the color or background of an image can be used.
The same thing is also happening in Illinois as they have the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.
The Communications Team at Meta responded to disabling certain filters and said,
“The technology we use to power augmented reality effects like avatars and filters is not facial recognition or any technology covered by the Texas and Illinois laws, and is not used to identify anyone. Nevertheless, we are taking this step to prevent meritless and distracting litigation under laws in these two states based on a mischaracterization of how our features work. We remain committed to delivering AR experiences that people love, and that a diverse roster of creators use to grow their businesses, without needless friction or confusion.”
The Texas lawsuit was filed back in February of this year, and there has been no decision made or no settlement, so as a result some filters have been disabled within those states.
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