The settlement last August of the class-action lawsuit against Facebook over its use of users’ images in sponsored stories is about to face more opposition, as nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen said it will file a legal brief with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, stating that the settlement violates laws in seven states, The New York Times reported.
According to the Times, the backbone of the argument by Public Citizen is Facebook’s failure to receive explicit permission from parents before using teens’ personal information in advertising, and Scott Michelman, a lawyer at Public Citizen, told the Times:
The default should be that a minor’s image should not be used for advertising unless the parent opts in. Putting the burden on the parent to opt the child out gets it exactly backward.
Another nonprofit group, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, passed up the $290,000 or so it was due to receive as part of the class-action settlement to challenge the ruling, with Director Susan Linn telling the Times:
Giving up the money was a difficult decision for us. (Facebook is) collecting and using personal information for minors without parents’ consent. That’s clearly wrong.
Facebook Manager, Public Policy and Communications Jodi Seth responded to the legal challenges in an email to the Times:
The court-approved settlement provides substantial benefits to everyone on Facebook, including teens and their parents, and goes beyond what any other company has done to provide consumers visibility into and control over their information in advertising. The same arguments on state law were raised and rejected by the court last year, and one-dozen respected groups continue to support the settlement.
Readers: Should the ruling on the sponsored stories class-action suit be overturned?