Facebook’s controversial Beacon advertising system, which was launched back in November amid waves of criticism, has now led the company to a class action lawsuit for allegedly breaking privacy and wire-tapping laws. The suit claims Facebook gathered users’ online activity and then shared it with friends without asking them for permission.
Beacon was originally designed to collect data on users from external affiliate websites, such as renting a movie from Blockbuster.com or buying something at Overstock.com, and then share that information with people’s social circle through their profile page. Privacy advocates were quick to react, and Facebook eventually changed its policies to make the ad system opt-in – with the option to turn Beacon off completely if desired.
But the damage had already been done, and now 32 plaintiffs who were affected during the fiasco are seeking to further restrict use of Beacon, deletion of data already collected and unspecified damages.