Facebook has been criticized over a number of its privacy features. Given the sheer amount of numbers on Facebook and the extent of reach that the social network affords, it is indeed a hard thing to make its privacy options fool-proof. Five Facebook users brought a lawsuit against it when their likes on Sponsored Stories were shown to others without providing the users with an option to opt-out of this.
The lawsuit was filed in California and its main contention is that while Facebook tends to advertise the likes of its users on Sponsored Stories, those users are not paid anything for these likes which is unfair.
Facebook has been following the strategy of persuading users to click on ‘Sponsored Stories.’ Under the ad for sponsored stories are mentioned the friends of a user who have already clicked at it, so as to encourage the user to do so too. But the users, on the other hand, are not provided with an option to opt out so that their names wouldn’t appear on the Sponsored Stories.
Facebook and the users who had filed a petition had already reached an agreement last month but it was made public only now. If Facebook didn’t reach a settlement, the class action lawsuit could have cost it billions of dollars. Nonetheless, eventually, the two parties settled on that Facebook will be paying $10 million to charity.
According to the judge presiding the case, “California has long recognized a right to protect one’s name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage.” And in saying so, she pretty much sided with those who filed the lawsuit.
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