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Facebook faces lawsuit

Facebook is set to face a class action lawsuit over its use of facial recognition.

The social media giant has been made the subject of the lawsuit by a Californian judge, who alleges that the site gathered biometric information without users' explicit consent, according to BBC News.

Facebook uses "tag suggestions" to spot users' friends in uploaded photos using facial recognition, and according to the lawsuit, this breaches a state law in Illinois.

On Monday (16.04.18), US District Judge James Donato ruled to certify a class of Facebook users, which is a key legal hurdle for a class action suit.

According to the court order, the class of people in question is Facebook users "in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011."

If the lawsuit is successful, any person in that group could be entitled to compensation, depending on the outcome.

In his order, Judge Donato wrote: "Facebook seems to believe ... statutory damages could amount to billions of dollars."

Facebook rolled out its "tag suggestions" feature in 2011, which uses photos a user has been tagged in before to build up a profile of that person's face, in order to suggest tagging them in future photos.

In the company's help pages, they state: "If you've never been tagged in a photo on Facebook or have untagged yourself in all photos of you on Facebook, then we do not have this summary information for you."

The feature is not available for users in many countries including the UK, and can be turned off in the settings for US users.

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