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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook said on Wednesday it will pay $550 million in response to an Illinois-based class-action lawsuit against the facial recognition technology in its photo-labeling service, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The settlement is a sign that state-level regulations on facial recognition can extract real penalties from social media giants like Facebook, as more states introduce bills to regulate, ban or study the tech.

What's next: Facebook will be required to "obtain full consent from Illinois consumers before any collection of their biometric information takes place" under the terms of the settlement, according to a Wednesday press release from the firms representing Illinois Facebook users, who are plaintiffs in the case.

  • Each member of the lawsuit "is likely to be compensated $200 or more," according to the firms.

Details: Facebook’s Tag Suggestions feature uses face-matching software to scan users' photos and suggest names for each person pictured. The lawsuit accused Facebook of violating Illinois biometric privacy law by amassing users' facial data without their consent or explaining how long the data would be stored, the Times reports, noting that "Facebook has said the allegations have no merit."

  • The fine amounts to the largest-ever cash settlement resolving a privacy-related lawsuit, the firms representing Illinois Facebook users claimed on Wednesday.

What they're saying: Facebook’s chief financial officer David Wehner told investors in an earnings call that the $550 million settlement added to the site's increasing administrative and general costs, which have grown 87% from last year, according to the Times.

Go deeper: Facebook expands its use of facial recognition technology

Go deeper

D.C.'s building boom grinds to a halt

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The decades-long building boom that remade Washington D.C. is screeching to a halt, undone by broader construction trends and the legacy of the post-pandemic workplace.

Why it matters: Dizzying construction has reshaped the city, reinvigorated downtown and created bustling new communities. 

Facebook fights for its image

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Facebook is ditching apologies and taking a more combative stance against its critics as it faces a new barrage of negative coverage and leaked internal reports.

Driving the news: As part of the new posture, Facebook started testing placing positive messages about itself in users' News Feeds last month, according to a New York Times story Tuesday.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Charter schools boomed during the pandemic

Expand chart
Data: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools; Map: Sara Wise/Axios

Charter schools picked off hundreds of thousands of public school students across the U.S. during the pandemic, according to a new analysis from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Why it matters: The pandemic has weakened America's public education system, as Zoom classes, teacher fatigue and student disengagement take their toll. And that hobbled system is shedding students to charter schools, private schools and homeschooling.