A judge has accepted a $650 million settlement of a privacy lawsuit filed against Facebook over facial picture marking.

 A federal judge has accepted a $650 million deal between Facebook and users who sued the company over the tagging feature.

The deal was a "landmark result," according to US Judge James Donato of the Northern District of California, who described it as "one of the largest-ever from a privacy lawsuit." According to the complaint, at least $345 would be paid to around 1.6 million individuals who entered the action.

"Overall, the settlement is a major win for consumers in the hotly contested area of digital privacy," wrote Judge Donato. "The standing issue makes this settlement all the more valuable because Facebook and other big tech companies continue to fight the proposition that a statutory privacy violation is a genuine harm."

In Illinois, a class-action lawsuit was first filed in 2015. Users claimed that Facebook had defied the state's Biometric Identity Protection Act, which forbids private organizations from collecting, storing, or using biometric identification or information without advance notice and written consent.

According to the complaint, beginning in June 2011, Facebook created and stored a face design for Illinois users as part of a feature to facilitate tagging - or marking - individuals in images. 

The settlement order said, "The class members alleged that Facebook collected and stored their biometric data - namely digital scans of their faces - without prior notice or consent"

A submission for comment on the lawsuit's outcome was not promptly answered by Facebook. The social media giant had opposed the case, arguing that its facial recognition systems had already been disclosed. It also claimed that users could turn it off.

This isn't the first time Facebook's facial-recognition feature has been questioned. Following the FTC's $5 billion fine for its role in the Cambridge Analytica data leak, Facebook began forcing users to opt-in to use their facial-recognition service in 2019. 

As previously reported by Insider, Facebook began requiring users to opt-in to use their facial-recognition tool in 2019.

Facebook attempted to settle the Illinois litigation for $550 million, but the judge overseeing the case turned down the deal.

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