On September 9, 2019, in In re Facebook Inc. Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, US District Court, Northern District of California, No 18-md-02843, a US district judge rejected Facebook Inc.’s arguments that its users did not have a legitimate privacy interest with respect to the information that is shared on the social media platform. In allowing the privacy action against Facebook Inc. (“Facebook”) to proceed, the plaintiffs will move forward in seeking damages from Facebook for letting third parties access private data without their consent on a widespread basis.
Though Facebook suggests that its practices are consistent with its disclosures, the US District Court for the Northern District of California rejected Facebook’s argument that its users have suffered no tangible harm. While users believed that they had control over their personal information, Facebook allowed thousands of third parties to gain access to the data. In 2015, it is estimated that data of 87 million Facebook users was accessed without user consent by British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. Alongside Cambridge Analytica, third parties such as Airbnb, Lyft and Netflix have also gained access to user data. Additionally, the plaintiffs allege that Facebook did nothing to prevent these third parties from misusing the information accessed.
The personal information addressed in this litigation dates back to 2007, when Facebook users have been able to access applications directly from the Facebook platform.
Summary By: Alessia Monastero
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