Supreme Court rejects Facebook's appeal to scale back $15B class action lawsuit

nanoguy

Posts: 742   +12
Staff member
A hot potato: Facebook broadly discloses the fact that it tracks people around the web even if they don't have accounts, by virtue of social plugins, Facebook-linked logins, Facebook Analytics, as well as ad measurement tools on some websites. However, its attempts to scale back a $15 billion class action lawsuit involving some of those practices have yet to succeed.

Earlier this year, Facebook reportedly considered taking Apple to court over iOS 14's App Tracking Transparency feature, after running an ample newspaper ad campaign to discredit the Cupertino's efforts as an anticompetitive practice. On the other hand, Facebook is embroiled in a legal battle of its own over the extensive use of user tracking for targeted advertising.

According to Reuters, the US Supreme Court turned away an appeal made by the social giant in a $15 billion lawsuit that alleges it had repeatedly violated a federal wiretapping law by tracking the internet activity of users beyond Facebook, even when logged off. This also brought the attention of the FTC, compelling the social giant to make several changes to its privacy policy and give users more control over the data collected by the company.

The class action started out as individual lawsuits dating back to 2011, which were then combined into a new filing in a Federal Court in San Jose, California. The plaintiffs accuse Facebook of violating the Wiretap Act by creating plugins for websites that added "Like" and "Share" buttons from the social platform, but at the same time tracked a user even if they didn't click on them.

Facebook tried to invoke an exception to the 1968 law, arguing that it's not liable under it because it was "not an uninvited interloper to a communication between two separate parties," but rather a "direct participant" to it. The social giant also noted that use of the data it receives is limited to tailoring content and ads for Facebook users, and as such the lawsuit would create a dangerous precedent that could outlaw commonplace data-sharing practices that enable most online advertising.

However, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the argument and explained that the exception doesn't apply when a company is stealthily collecting data, as is alleged in the class action lawsuit. At the same time, Facebook's tracking methods don't afford users a "meaningful opportunity to control or prevent the unauthorized exploration of their private lives."

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Watzupken

Posts: 131   +103
I think they fail to understand that communication involves sending a message to the intended receipient, and Facebook is not the intended receipient. Facebook is spying and eavedropping is akin to stealing information. While they go around this problem by making people agree to sharing information before they can use their application just makes it more like a highway robbery, I.e. you pay with your PI in order to have access.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,454   +1,046
The world would be a far better place without Facebook/Twitter. I urge everyone to delete their accounts and remove the apps. Social media is fine until it gets so big they threaten governments and influence elections and public opinion.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 800   +1,132
The social giant also noted that use of the data it receives is limited to tailoring content and ads for Facebook users, and as such the lawsuit would create a dangerous precedent that could outlaw commonplace data-sharing practices that enable most online advertising.
They say that as if it was a bad thing
 

Goamist

Posts: 11   +15
Tailoring content and ads for Facebook users... How can people continue to use the services of a company that treats people like monkeys and try to manipulate every choice the regular Joe is making? I don't need advertising 99.(9)% of times. When I need information about a product that I don't know enough about, I am searching for information on independent review sites, whenever possible, or read buyer's reviews, at least.
Spying on people to make more money and offering instead the excuse that it benefits the people that are being spied on is disgusting and insulting at the same time.
I'm sure that they have the necessary resources to find a new business model that is not based on deceit, they just don't want to make the effort.
 

Deevo324

Posts: 32   +23
If you don't want to be tracked by Facebook use the Mozilla Firefox browser. Install the Facebook Container extension and you have complete control over Facebook!