Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Facebook parent company Meta on Monday alleging the company illegally shared biometric data on its users.
The lawsuit alleges Meta concealed from consumers its practice of collecting biometric information, such as facial scans, retina scans and other biological identifiers, and sharing this data with third parties in violation of Texas law. In particular, the lawsuit focuses on Meta’s discontinued automatic photo-tagging feature that uses facial scans of users to automatically tag people in photos on Facebook.
The complaint alleges the tech giant intentionally misled millions of users to obtain their “facial geometry” without their consent, endangering their personal data to risk from hackers and other bad actors.
“Facebook will no longer take advantage of people and their children with the intent to turn a profit at the expense of one’s safety and well-being,” Paxton said in a statement. “This is yet another example of Big Tech’s deceitful business practices and it must stop. I will continue to fight for Texans’ privacy and security.”
Meta shut down its facial recognition system in November 2021 and deleted the facial scans of over one billion individuals after criticism from privacy advocates.
The complaint also alleged Meta failed to inform users that their facial scans would be used to inform Facebook’s facial-recognition algorithms.
“Little did users know that when they answered the simple question of who was in a photograph, they were helping to teach Facebook’s facial-recognition technology to better map and recognize human faces for the benefit of Facebook’s commercial endeavors — and to the detriment of users’ and non-users’ personal safety and security,” the lawsuit reads.
Paxton previously joined several other state attorneys general to sue Facebook for antitrust violations. The Texas attorney general is also suing Google for alleged anticompetitive conduct in the digital ads market.
A Meta spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “these claims are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously” when reached for comment.