Meta disables some filters in Texas and Illinois following lawsuits

B.R. Shenoy

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Two Women Lean Into Each Other And Take A Selfie PhotoPhoto by Avelino Calvar Martinez from Burst

Instagram users can usually enhance or change their images with different face filters.

However, as of Wednesday, May 11, 2022, Instagram users in Texas and Illinois can no longer use the augmented reality effects, including filters and avatars.

Meta, the app's parent company that also owns Facebook, disabled them "due to state facial recognition laws," according to Complex Magazine.

The sidelined features are on Instagram, Messenger, Messenger Kids, Facebook, and Portal.

In February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) filed a lawsuit against Meta for allegedly violating state law by capturing biometric identifiers without informing and obtaining consent from the identified person.

According to Paxton, specific face filters violate the Texas Capture or Use Biometric Identifier Act and cannot be used across state lines.

A similar suit, which was recently settled in Illinois, accused Facebook of storing biometric data from users without their consent.

Filters that don't rely on users' facial features, like ones that change an image's color or background, are still available in Texas, CBS 19 reported.

CBS 19 published what it claims to be a Meta response to its questions about the feature lock-out. Executives claim that people "love" their augmented reality features, which are used by "a diverse roster of creators" who use the filters and avatars to "grow their businesses."

However, the company does not want to go to court with Texas and Illinois over what Meta executives claim is a "mischaracterization of how our features work."

According to Axios, the company is working on an "opt-in system" that will allow users to use the filters again.

What are your thoughts on the removal of these fun filters? Please share in the comments.

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Freelance Digital Content Creator. I cover a diverse range of topics including scientific research, health, human interest, news, travel, consumer protection updates, and more.

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