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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

Inflation threatens Latinos' buying power

Expand chart
Data: Hispanic Index of Consumer Sentiment; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Latinos in the U.S. are less optimistic about the economy than they were a year ago as inflation threatens to cut into their buying power.

Why it matters: Latinos have been economic growth drivers for the past decade, opening new businesses at faster rates than other groups and increasing their homeownership rates. The group's overall output would make them the seventh-largest GDP in the world if they were a country.

First look: Frontline Dems seek cover with bipartisan police bill

Rep. Josh Gottheimer. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Moderate Frontline Democrats facing tough reelection fights are teaming up with House Republicans on a bill that would effectively help fund the police, according to a copy of the bill text obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: One of Republicans' core and most effective campaign attacks to date is their messaging around progressive rhetoric to "defund the police." Moderate Democrats have long tried to dodge that narrative, acknowledging its political peril despite their support for broader police reform.

Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The U.S. Omicron wave may be peaking, but now COVID deaths are climbing as cases continue to soar in most of the country.

The big picture: Omicron's stranglehold in the U.S. started about a month ago. Its death toll — while almost certain to be smaller than previous waves of the pandemic — is only now starting to take hold, and deaths will likely continue to rise for several weeks.