Texas bans Instagram filters--have you been affected?


It's no secret that millions of users flock to the social media application, Instagram to share edited photos of themselves and their everyday lives.

According to a consumer report, 1 out of 5 Americans, roughly 20 percent, who have had a social media account have used a beauty filter before posting pictures on social media. Additionally. 9 percent said they “always or nearly always” use them and 13 percent said they “often” use them.

Moreover, Dr. Magavi, in an interview with Insider explained that "Excessive time spent looking at filtered versions of themselves can adversely affect individuals' mood, sleep, and overall mental and physical wellness."

In somewhat of a shocking move, the state of Texas has moved to prohibit Texas residents from using some filters hosted on the Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger apps. Here's why Texans won't be able to use certain face-altering filters these major social media platforms anymore.

Here's Why Texas Removed Instagram Users' Access to Filters

In a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against Meta (formerly Facebook), he claims that Facebook unlawfully captures the biometric data of Texans for a commercial purpose without their consent. Additionally, the suit stipulates that the biometric identifier data wasn't destroyed in a timely manner. He claims this is in direct violation of Texas' Sec. 503.001. Capture or use of Biometric Identifier and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act.

Furthermore, Paxton argues that Texans have been deceived by Facebook by having their most private data stolen without their knowledge.

Due to the literature on these acts, it is presumed that Facebook cannot use its facial altering software within the state.

Facebook made the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

"The technology we use to power augmented reality effects like avatars and filters is not facial recognition or any technology covered by the Texas and Illinois laws, and is not used to identify anyone.  Nevertheless, we are taking this step to prevent meritless and distracting litigation under laws in these two states based on a mischaracterization of how our features work. We remain committed to delivering AR experiences that people love, and that a diverse roster of creators use to grow their businesses, without needless friction or confusion.”

Allegedly, the Meta company advised users on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger that they would see a temporarily unavailable message if they attempted to use a filter that is no longer available. The message reads, "This effect is not available in your location error."

Illinois is also prohibiting the use of these filters for similar reasons.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world with over 1 billion active users. Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012 for 1 billion dollars when the company only had 13 employees. Instagram now contributes $20 billion per year to Facebook's annual revenue.

Texas residents, what do you think of this new legislative move? Do you agree with this decision and have you been personally impacted by this decision? Let us know in the comments!

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