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Facebook ordered to pay $650 million in facial recognition lawsuit

A federal judge has ordered Facebook to pay $650 million — $100 million more than originally agreed — to settle a 2015 facial recognition lawsuit, according to a Wednesday court filing.

The federal judge assigned to the case said the original payment amount of $550 million did not properly punish the social network for its wrongdoings, Fortune reported.

The settlement regards biometric privacy laws in Illinois since the state has some of the strictest regulations that require companies to get permission from someone before using any facial recognition software. A 2015 lawsuit alleges that Facebook violated these laws by using facial recognition software in its photo tag feature without people’s consent.

Kon Karampelas/Unsplash

Facebook will have to shell out the $650 million to Illinois users who used Facebook’s photo-tagging feature after 2011. When the original settlement was reached in January, the Chicago Tribune reported that each person affected could get up to a couple of hundred dollars, but with the increased amount, Illinois residents could be getting even more cash from Facebook.

The final settlement is expected to be reached later this year with payouts starting in 2021. 

Digital Trends reached out to Facebook to comment on the new settlement amount. We will update this story when we hear back. 

The technology used in the photo tagging feature was, in part, a reason for Facebook having to pay the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a historic $5 billion settlement last summer. The FTC said Facebook misrepresented users’ ability to control how their photos were used for facial recognition.

Last September, Facebook announced that it would stop using facial recognition by default on your photos and tagging suggestions. Users can easily opt in, or opt out of the tag suggestion feature, and those who do not have the feature on will not appear in suggested tags or the Photo Review feature.

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Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
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