Instagram and Facebook users in Texas lost access to certain augmented reality filters Wednesday, following a lawsuit accusing parent company Meta of violating privacy laws.
In February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton revealed he would sue Meta for using facial recognition in filters to collect data for commercial purposes without consent.
Paxton claimed Meta was “storing millions of biometric identifiers” that included voiceprints, retina or iris scans, and hand and face geometry.
Although Meta argues its AR it does not use facial recognition technology, it has disabled filters and avatars on Facebook and Instagram amid the litigation.
The AR effects featured on Facebook, Messenger, Messenger Kids, and Portal will also be shut down for Texas users. However, filters that change the background or color will still be available on the social media app.
The change will also affect users in Illinois, due to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.
Meta released a statement to announce the AR filters would no longer be available to certain users, starting on Wednesday.
“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,” the statement read.
“Nevertheless, we are taking this step to prevent meritless and distracting litigation under laws in these two states based on a mischaracterization of how our features work.”
Meta went on to promise to continue offering the AR technology to other users. “We remain committed to delivering AR experiences that people love and that a diverse roster of creators use to grow their businesses, without needless friction or confusion,” the statement concluded.
Meta claim it will eventually create an opt-in experience to allow AR filters to return to the platforms.