Judge lets Facebook privacy lawsuit proceed, calls company’s views ‘so wrong’
A federal judge on Monday night ordered Facebook to face the brunt of a privacy class action lawsuit, chastising the social network for views about privacy he called “so wrong.”
While dismissing some claims, US District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said users could try to hold Facebook liable under various federal and state laws for letting app developers and business partners harvest their personal data without their consent on a “widespread” basis.
He rejected Facebook’s arguments that users suffered no “tangible” harm and had no legitimate privacy interest in information they shared with friends on social media.
“Facebook’s motion to dismiss is littered with assumptions about the degree to which social media users can reasonably expect their personal information and communications to remain private,” Chhabria wrote. “Facebook’s view is so wrong.”
A Facebook spokeswoman said the company considered protecting people’s information and privacy “extremely important,” but believed its practices were consistent with its disclosures and “do not support any legal claims.”
Lesley Weaver and Derek Loeser, two of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, said in a joint statement that they were pleased with the decision, and “especially gratified that the court is respecting Facebook users’ right to privacy.”
The litigation followed a series of data privacy issues involving Menlo Park, California-based Facebook.
These included the 2015 breach that allowed Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm, to access data for an estimated 87 million Facebook users.
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