Why The Supreme Court Finally Ended The Facebook Beacon Class-Action Lawsuit

By David Cohen 

FacebookBeacon650It’s finally lights out for the Facebook Beacon case, as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the disputed settlement of the class-action suit against the social network, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The $9.5 million settlement of the suit was originally announced in March 2010, and it was upheld by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in February, but in July, a Facebook user represented by the Center for Class Action Fairness and law firm BakerHostetler asked the Supreme Court to examine the settlement.

Beacon, a now-defunct Facebook advertising program, caused controversy because it gathered data on friends’ activities, such as purchases from Overstock.com or rentals from Blockbuster, and shared it with users on the social network, and users were automatically included unless they opted out.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Sean Lane, had his bid to surprise his wife with jewelry foiled by this Beacon-generated Facebook post:

Sean Lane bought 14k White Gold 1/5 ct Diamond Eternity Flower Ring from overstock.com.

The Supreme Court issued a brief written order letting the ruling stand, according to the Journal, and Chief Justice John Roberts added as part of a four-page statement that the High Court was correct in rejecting the case because its specific facts would have prevented the court from addressing larger issues about the settlement, and adding:

In a suitable case, this court may need to clarify the limits on the use of such remedies.

Readers: Did you follow the Beacon case at all?

Supreme Court image courtesy of Shutterstock.