Facebook Settles Class-Action Suit Over Users’ Names, Photos In Sponsored Stories For $10M

By David Cohen 

Facebook agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in December over the use of members’ likenesses in sponsored stories, and it will pay out $10 million to charities, according to reports.

The Telegraph reported that Facebook reversed course after declaring when the suit was filed:

We are reviewing the decision and continue to believe that the case is without merit.

The suit was based on California’s Right of Publicity Statute, which prohibits the non-consensual use of another person’s name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness for advertising purposes, but Facebook contended that when one of its users likes a page or product, he or she is effectively endorsing the brand and giving their consent for the use of their name and photo.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh wrote in her decision:

California has long recognized a right to protect one’s name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage.

Readers: Do you think Facebook reached the settlement to try to slow the wave of negative press since its initial public offering, or did the social network think it was in danger of losing this case?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.