Consumer Advocacy Group Challenges Facebook Privacy Settlement

Facebook privacy issuesFacebook will ask an appeals court this week to uphold its $20 million settlement of a class-action suit claiming that Facebook’s now-defunct Sponsored Stories feature violated user privacy. However, a consumer advocacy group called Public Citizen has intervened on behalf of a group of parents and attempted to quash the settlement.

The group argues that it’s too easy for Facebook to use images of minors without parental consent, an action that violates privacy laws in California and six other states. The parents and Public Citizen are arguing that the settlement should have been greater, and that too much of it went to lawyers.

“It’s akin to having a kid sign their own permission slip to get out of school,” said one of the group’s lawyers.

The original settlement would pay about $15 to each of the 614,000 class members in the suit, and about $2 million to nonprofit organizations and children’s advocates. About $5 million would go to Facebook’s lawyers. However, that isn’t good enough for the concerned parents challenging the ruling.

“I’m fighting this settlement because Facebook shouldn’t be permitted to use my teenage daughter’s image for profit without my consent,” one of the mothers involved in the case said in a statement. “This settlement lets Facebook make my daughter a shill and leaves me powerless to stop it.”