The social media network has been accused of unlawfully using a facial recognition process on photos without users’ permission.
The technology uses ‘tag suggestions’ by identifying users’ friends in uploaded photos. The lawsuit alleges the technology violated Illinois law about the privacy of biometric information. The people involved in the class action lawsuit are Facebook users in Illinois for whom the social network created facial recognition algorithms after June 7, 2011, when the ‘tag suggestions’ feature was launched.
US District Judge James Donato ruled in San Francisco that a class action lawsuit was the best way to resolve the dispute. Judge Donato wrote in his order: "Facebook seems to believe... statutory damages could amount to billions of dollars."
The ruling is another blow to Facebook
Facebook said it believes the case has no merit and will “defend ourselves vigorously”.
The ruling serves as another blow to Facebook after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg faced a grilling by US lawmakers last week over a data breach scandal.
Cambridge Analytics, a political consultancy that worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, has been accused of harvesting personal information of millions of Facebook users without consent.