John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Status Update: Mark Zuckerberg Is Reading a Class-Action Suit

It’s taken nearly a year, but the inevitable class-action fallout from Facebook’s ill-starred Beacon advertising system has finally begun. Filed in California, the suit claims Facebook and its ad partners violated online privacy and computer fraud laws by collecting and publicly disclosing information about users’ online activities without proper consent. Facebook’s “Beacon” advertisements, as you may recall, transformed member transactions on third-party partner sites into product/service endorsements and inserted them into their friends’ “news feeds.” Facebook members, or should I say “fansumers,” were automatically opted-in to the program. Worse, Beacon collected information about member actions on affiliate sites even if they’d opted out of the service and logged off from Facebook. As the suit notes, “By the time any user was notified that Facebook was (at a minimum) an observing party to the transaction, and that Facebook was asking for an approval to publicly broadcast identifying information regarding the event, personally identifying information had already been communicated to Facebook.”

Given that, it’s surprising this suit, which demands the deletion of any ill-gotten data and some form of restitution, wasn’t filed earlier. Certainly, it seems a sure thing after Facebook’s acknowledgment of these issues.

[Image credit: FSJ]