Facebook's Beacon Lawsuit Settlement Approved

The 2008 ‘Beacon’ class action lawsuit against Facebook that claimed violation of consumer privacy has now been settled by a federal judge. The Beacon program, which Facebook terminated in late 2009, publish information about consumer purchases — such as movie rentals, which is contrary to law — to the Facebook Wall of the purchaser and to their friends’ feeds. In one instance, a to-be-surprise gift of jewelry was broadcast to one user’s Facebook network, obviously ruining the surprise for his wife.

There were claims that the US$9.5M settlement was overly generous, especially since supposedly most of the intended claimants of the suit would receive little or no compensation. The settlement has now been approved by the judge residing over the objection launched by consumer rights group Public Citizen. One of the points of objection was not that the $6.5M of the settlement would be given to a new digital privacy group, but that Facebook would have a hand in its inception, including assigning one of the three board members.