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Facebook is facing a class-action lawsuit in the USA over claims that it unlawfully applied facial recognition technology to users' images without their explicit consent.

In this case, that group has been defined as users "in IL for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011", which has the potential to cover millions of individuals.

US District Judge James Donato ruled in a San Francisco federal court on Monday that a class-action lawsuit was the most efficient way to resolve the dispute.

Launched in 2014, "Bumble" initially allowed Facebook-based information to speed up and simplify the process of registration and logging in of new users.

Nimesh Patel started his suit against Facebook back in 2015 for violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which protected citizens data by requiring informed consent to gather biometric information, including about their faces. Its facial recognition tool scans your photos and suggests you tag friends.

A California judge on Monday gave the green light to a three-year-old case claiming the social network violated IL law.

"We continue to believe the case has no merit and will defend ourselves vigorously", the spokesperson said.

Also on Monday, Facebook confirmed that it collected information from people beyond their social network use.

The company also filed a patent in 2014 for technology that lets it provide certain types of content to users based off of reading their emotions with a camera in their computer or phone.

Facebook has been under intense scrutiny over fake news being delivered through the platform and the allegations that data analytics and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica mined the data of 80 million users without consent.

Facebook sources said last week CEO Mark Zuckerberg could testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 10.

The company adds that the data it collects isn't covered by IL law, which explicitly prevents the collection of biometric data such as facial geometry, fingerprints and "voice prints".

Folks can, of course, turn off the service via Facebook's privacy settings.