You may notice that your Instagram filters are no longer available if you’re a Texas resident, and that’s due to new facial recognition laws.
Instagram Filters have grown more popular to use as an overlay to pictures, videos, and other user generated content, to enhance or change the appearance of original image subject.
As of May 11, Instagram’s parent company, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has removed the ability to use some filters due to Texas’ facial recognition laws.
According to CBS19, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, filed a lawsuit against Meta citing the company’s alleged misuse of their facial recognition technology. The lawsuit states companies like Meta cannot use Texans’ biometric information and keep it stored within their systems without their consent or knowledge beforehand.
The Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act is broken as filters learn a user’s face and can automatically tag or associate a person with an image, typically without the consent of the user being tagged.
As a result of these new findings, any filters using facial geometry, like augmented reality filters, cannot be used within the state of Texas. Filters that do not use facial geometry and focus only on changing the background of images, or image color can still be used.
The state of Illinois has a similar law, known as Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, resulting in filters also being disabled within its’ state lines. According to CBS19, at the end of April, Facebook settled a class action lawsuit against the state of Illinois awarding 1.4 million users in Illinois.
The lawsuit claimed to collect and store biometric data of Facebook users in Illinois without proper notice or consent, which is a violation of the IBIPA.
Texas has followed Illinois in filing a lawsuit in February 2022, resulting in filter features being disabled due to the settlement made with Illinois. Details of the lawsuit are still developing. No decision has been made yet.
A statement from the Meta Communications team describes their reasons for disabling filters in both Texas and Illinois:
“The technology we use to power augmented reality effects, such as avatars and filters, is not a facial recognition or a technology covered by Texas and Illinois law and is not used to identify anyone. Nevertheless, these two We are taking steps to prevent unqualified and misleading lawsuits under state law. We are committed to providing AR experience that people like and the diverse creators that use it to grow their business, without unnecessary friction or confusion. “