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Class action suit against Facebook for Tag Suggestions will go forward

The Facebook Tag Suggestions lawsuit filed in Illinois in 2015 will go forward, says a U.S. federal judge. Facebook's lawyers are not pleased.

Published onApril 17, 2018

  • Illinois Facebook users filed a class action suit against the company in 2015 over Tag Suggestions, the algorithm that recognizes who to tag in your photos.
  • A U.S. federal judge today ruled the Facebook Tag Suggestions lawsuit will go forward, clearing the way for a trial or a settlement.
  • This Facebook Tag Suggestions lawsuit is yet another privacy scandal the social network faces.

You know how when you upload a photo to Facebook, the software will suggest who to tag in each photo? To do that, it uses facial recognition algorithms which determine who is in the photo based on other Facebook photos.

Users in Illinois filed a class action suit against Facebook over that technology in 2015. The allegation is that Facebook violated an Illinois state law regarding the privacy of biometric information.

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Now, nearly three years after the users filed the class action suit against the company, a U.S. federal judge ruled that Facebook must defend the case, via Reuters. This is a huge step, as certification of a class action suit is a significant hurdle that is difficult to overcome.

Facebook’s lawyers said they are reviewing the ruling and “believe the case has no merit.”

Regardless of what the lawyers believe, this ruling means that they will either have to go to court to defend the company or issue a settlement.

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With the Cambridge Audio Audio Analytica scandal dominating press headlines for weeks now, it might be in Facebook’s best interests to settle this rather than go to court over yet another privacy issue. However, settling suggests guilt or at the very least an admission that the plaintiffs have a valid case, so Facebook may choose to go to court.

Either way, the outcome of the suit could have major ramifications for how tagging Facebook photos works. It could very well be that in the future you will have to once again manually tag every photo rather than rely on the facial recognition algorithm to do most of the work for you.

We’ll follow along with the progress of this suit and keep you updated on how things develop.

NEXT: Go ahead, delete Facebook. You’ll be back.

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