Lawsuit Filed against Facebook



By: REBECCA BITTON  
Published: July 6th 2010
in News » World

Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook.

Canadian lawyer Tony Merchant has launched a class action lawsuit against Facebook due to the belief that the social networking website “dupes users into letting their private information be sold for profit” Canadian Press reports.

 

Merchant argues that Facebook’s changing of its privacy settings have amounted to “classic bait-and-switch.” Explained in court papers filed Friday in Winnipeg, Facebook users are led to believe that their private information is more secure with the new settings, however, it has been argued that these changes have further subjected its users to advertisers and data miners.

 

The lawsuit also targets Facebook for changing its terms of service without proper communication and its users’ privacy setting without the proper consent. Merchant’s law firm based in Regina, The Merchant Law Group LLP, detailed these terms in a 32-page statement claim filed in Winnipeg’s Court of Queen’s Bench.

 

According to Global Toronto, the claim reads: "Facebook intentionally or negligently designs its privacy policies . . . in such a fashion as to mislead and induce users into putting their personal information and privacy at further risk."

 

Merchant also alleged that "Everything from naked teenage pictures sent to boyfriends to confidential business and family secrets sent six or 10 years ago and likely forgotten now goes into the public domain is what the claim will establish."

 

Despite these allegations the class action lawsuit will not be put forward until the courts have certified it which has not been done yet and allegations have not yet been proven in court. Merchant’s allegations against Facebook’s privacy changes made in April, November and December of 2009, have caused the publicizing of private information as well as users unwittingly sharing personal information with third-party software companies, who build games and applications including the popular Farmville.

 

Canadian Press reports a couple hundred people have already signed up to join the suit.  As of yet, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg did not immediately accept interviews regarding the case.

 

According to a recent survey, Facebook has already faced a decrease in popularity outside of the class action suit. Facebook users have reported to have “Facebook fatigue,” a phenomenon that has one in five teenage users abandoning their profile, or simply visiting the site less, in the last year.



Related articles: (Facebook, privacy settings, Mark Zuckerberg, lawsuit)
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