Instagram filters back in Texas, but users must opt in

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s good news for Texas Instagram users who were disappointed to find face filters had disappeared from the app last week: they’re back.

Meta, Instagram’s parent company, had removed augmented reality effects, like filters and avatars, within state lines after a lawsuit was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The lawsuit claimed some of these effects broke Texas laws against the use of facial recognition technology.  

Now, the filters are back, but users must opt-in to use them. 

Here’s how it works: if you try to use a filter when taking a photo or video of yourself on the app, a message will pop up explicitly asking for permission to use your phone’s camera to position effects on your face, eyes and hands. The message states that the technology used is not facial recognition and the information is not used to identify you. Even if you opt in, you can turn the function off at any time in your settings.

Instagram filters are back in Texas. But now, users must opt-in to use them.

Last week when the filters were disabled, CBS11 spoke to an expert who said that when social media users put selfies on a social media site, they may be giving away more information than they think.

“These images can be used for targeting, for example, based on your gender or age,” said University of Texas at Dallas professor of computer science Murat Kantarcioglu, Ph.D. “I’m not saying they’re doing it, but it’s doable because your facial image is there.”

But some people weren’t happy to find those filters had disappeared.

“I think we share information anyways and I don’t think it has anything to do with the filters,” social media user Michelle Zhang said. 

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