Facebook and Instagram Are Disabling AR Filters in Texas
As of this week, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has turned off all augmented reality filters on both platforms for users in Texas. So don’t be alarmed if you go to use these filters you will see a “temporarily unavailable” message pop up.
The reason for this is due to facial recognition laws in both Texas and Illinois. Meta made the decision to avoid “meritless and distracting litigation” after an ACLU lawsuit filed in Illinois against Clearview AI. This company is a facial recognition company that was selling its database to private companies, leading to the lawsuit.
Meta wants to avoid any possible lawsuits made against them due to their AR filters, even though they recognize that their filters technically don’t use facial recognition. Meta issued a statement explaining the decision: "The technology we use to power augmented reality effects like avatars and filters is not facial recognition or any technology covered by the Texas and Illinois laws, and is not used to identify anyone."
In order to avoid any possible legal conflicst in the states that have facial recognition and privacy laws, they're removing the filters for now.
This all makes sense considering the lawsuit Texas previously filed against Facebook in regards to their facial recognition technology. The social media giant shut down its facial recognition system after this lawsuit and is now taking extra precautions with its filters.
Meta is planning to create an opt-in experience in order to re-establish these filters on their platforms, but there's no established timeline. For now, in both Illinois and Texas, all AR effects have been turned off across Messenger, Messenger Kids, Facebook and Portal.