City Cast

Is Meta Violating Illinoisans’ Privacy … Again?

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on July 24   |   Updated on July 28
The Threads app

The Threads app. (Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto / Getty)

Millions of users have flocked to sign up for Threads, Meta’s new text-based app, as an alternative to Twitter. But one Chicago attorney concerned with digital privacy is skeptical — and thinks you should be, too.

Meta’s Track Record Isn’t Great

Instagram is currently facing a biometric privacy lawsuit in Illinois two years after Facebook settled a $650 million lawsuit in the state over the tech giant’s use of facial recognition technology.

That’s In Addition To Worries Over Meta’s Algorithm

Facebook's internal whistleblowers revealed the company is aware its products are addictive, Eli Wade-Scott, a partner at Edelson PC, said. Plus, a pending lawsuit on behalf of Rohingya refugees alleges the algorithm fanned the flames of a genocide in Myanmar.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Read the fine print and check what data is being extracted in the disclosures in the app stores, Wade-Scott said. Compared to Twitter, Threads collects more information, from health and fitness to finance to vague categories titled “sensitive” and “other.”

But Illinois Has Strong Biometric Privacy Laws

After a bankrupt company acquired a giant database of fingerprints, the Illinois Legislature recognized in 2008 how government and private entities can track you with these technological advances, Wade-Scott said.

+ Illinois residents who have used Instagram in the last eight years could be eligible for a cash payout. Submit a claim by Sept. 27.

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