Lawsuit Claims Facebook is Foe not Friend

Five users of Facebook filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court alleging that the social media giant violated California privacy and online privacy laws by disseminating to third parties certain personal information posted by users. The suit also alleges that Facebook did not fully disclose to members some of the company’s data mining and harvesting practices.
The plaintiffs consist of a photographer, a model and actress, two minors and a college student.   The photographer claims that her copyrighted photographs were uploaded to Facebook without her consent. The actress says she believed that access to the data she posted would be limited to users she had expressly authorized.  The minors claim their pages were accessed without their knowledge, and the college student alleges that the social networking site altered the terms of service.   Specifically the group seeks damages for violations of California’s Civil Code Section 3344, the California Online Privacy Act, Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), the Unfair Trade Practices Act and California Civil Code Sections 1750 et seq.  The complaint alleges that the violations arise from “Defendant’s commercial misappropriation of Plaintiff’s names, photographs, likenesses and private information. Plaintiffs relied on Defendant’s misrepresentations and omissions of material facts, and violations of California’s privacy and right of publicity law.”
Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt released a statement saying that the company finds “no merit to this suit, and we plan to fight it.”
The plaintiffs are seeking equitable relief and damages in order to stop certain data mining and dissemination practices, along with alleged infringement of users’ privacy rights.