- Texas appeals court denies Meta’s request to block CEO Mark Zuckerberg from having to sit for a deposition as part of an ongoing lawsuit over the company’s use of facial recognition technology.
- Texas alleges Meta improperly captured facial recognition data from millions of residents without consent and violated consumer protection laws.
- Meta previously settled a separate class action lawsuit in 2021 over alleged violations of Illinois’ biometric privacy law related to Facebook’s photo tagging feature.
Background on the Lawsuit Against Meta
In February 2022, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit accusing Meta of improperly capturing and using facial recognition data from millions of Texas residents without their consent. The state also alleges Meta violated Texas consumer protection laws by failing to disclose its data collection practices to users.
The lawsuit stems from Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology to analyze photos and videos posted by users to create template matches. These template matches allowed Facebook to detect a user’s face and suggest tagging them in photos.
Texas Claims Zuckerberg Has Unique Knowledge Relevant to Lawsuit
In denying Meta’s request to shield Zuckerberg from deposition, the appeals court ruled that the CEO has unique, firsthand knowledge relevant to the state’s claims.
Attorneys for Texas argue Zuckerberg was personally involved in discussions regarding Facebook’s facial recognition practices. They want to question him as part of gathering evidence for the lawsuit.
Meta Settled Separate Facial Recognition Lawsuit in 2021
The Texas case is not the first time Meta has faced legal trouble over facial recognition.
In 2021, Meta agreed to pay $650 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging Facebook’s photo tagging feature violated an Illinois biometric privacy law. It was one of the largest settlements ever for a privacy violation.
Meta Continues to Fight Texas Lawsuit
While losing the bid to block Zuckerberg’s deposition, Meta is still battling the broader lawsuit in Texas court.
The company denies any wrongdoing, arguing the claims are without merit. Meta maintains its practices comply with applicable laws.
The legal fight over Meta’s facial recognition technology practices continues as lawmakers and regulators scrutinize the company’s data privacy policies. The deposition of CEO Mark Zuckerberg could shed new light on Meta’s decision-making around the controversial technology.