Judge In Facebook Sponsored Stories Case Recuses Herself

By Justin Lafferty 

The case in which five Facebook members sued the company for violating their privacy rights with sponsored stories has taken an odd twist. Not long ago, Facebook agreed to settle the case, donating $10 million to charity. That settlement needed approval from a San Jose, Calif., judge, who recused herself from the case Wednesday. She gave no reason for her decision.

Reuters reported Wednesday that District Judge Lucy Koh has stepped away from overseeing the class-action privacy lawsuit. She was supposed to hold a hearing Thursday, but asked that the case be transferred to another judge.

Facebook agreed to settle the lawsuit in December, after Koh told the company it would not be able to dismiss the case. Including the $10 million payment to charity, Facebook will be on the hook for roughly $20 million, taking court fees into account.

Last year, five Facebook members filed a class-action lawsuit against the social network, claiming that sponsored stories violate privacy laws by publicizing likes of certain advertisers without giving users a way to opt out. The lawsuit represented more than 100 million Facebook members.

Readers: How do you feel about sponsored stories?

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