Earlier this year, Facebook -- which was embroiled in a 2015 class-action lawsuit for its facial recognition technology – was purported to pay over $500 million. Last month, the social media service reportedly reached a settlement amount of $650 million which it will pay users in Illinois who were affected. A state law prohibits businesses from collecting biometric data (facial recognition included) without a person's consent. It seems the company's woes are not over as it is hit with a new class-action lawsuit – estimated at $500 billion – over Instagram's alleged breach of privacy law.

Sources note that the photo/video-sharing service gathered biometric data of over 100 million users without their consent. If there is evidence to support that the platform violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act, Facebook, which owns Instagram, might be fined up to $1,000 per violation. Moreover, if the court rules that if the group "collected the data illegally and acted recklessly or intentionally," the fine would likely go up to $5,000 per violation.

Analysts reveal that Facebook is valued at approximately $740 billion to date. Stephanie Otway, a company spokesperson, speaking with Business Insider said: "This suit is baseless. Instagram doesn't use Face Recognitiion technology." Other speculate that the law firm might have jumped on the opportunity after recent litigation ruled in favour of the users in Illinois.

According to the lawsuit, "while Instagram discloses this practice in its terms of service, the lawsuit alleges that the tool automatically scans the faces of people pictured in other users' posts, even if they don't use Instagram and didn't agree to the terms of service." Similar to the aforementioned case against Facebook, this would be classified under the Biometric Information Privacy Act of the state of Illinois.

Reels on Instagram launches in 50 countries
Instagram is launching Reels in over 50 countries on both iOS and Android operating systems via an in-app update. Photo: Instagram

Perhaps the closest issue from Instagram that is related to user privacy was back in July. This was spotted by tech-savvy individuals who were testing the beta version of iOS 14. One of the new features included in the operating system would indicate if an app or function is in use. After using the app in question and just browsing through the photo gallery, the camera was supposedly being accessed in the background. The developers quickly explained that it was a bug and should be fixed in a future update.