Why facial social media filters are disappearing for users in Texas and Illinois

Social network users in Texas and Illinois found that their favorite facial filters on Instagram and Facebook had been removed overnight. Meta, the parent company of both platforms, has said it is temporarily shutting down augmented reality technology, which creates facial filters and avatars that some see as face recognition, to prevent “unreasonable and disruptive litigation” in those states.

“The technology we use to support augmented reality effects, such as avatars and filters, is not facial recognition or any technology subject to Texas and Illinois law, and is not used to identify anyone,” says a company formerly known as Facebook. Users in these states can still access the filters using words or special lenses, but any filter that is considered “AR” has been removed.

The laws in question are specifically linked to facial recognition technology. In Texas, the Texas Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act prohibits people and companies from obtaining biometric identifiers that include “retinal or iris scanning, fingerprint, voice fingerprint, or hand or face geometry recording” for commercial purposes without consent. Under the law, the Texas Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Meta this week for allegedly “misusing” their facial recognition technology.

In Illinois, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act requires the same informed consent before capturing biometric identifiers. A recent class action lawsuit in the state settled for $ 100 million, making the decision to suspend technology filtering easy for the social media brand.

As influencers and everyday users continue to notice that their favorite online facial enhancement tools are gone, we’ll be sure to continue to hear from society and the consumers who rely on them. Meta has not announced plans to restore them, but based on the amount of outrage of users, we are confident that they are working hard to find a solution to confirm consent that will work for all parties involved.

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