Court Upholds $20 Million Privacy Suit Against Facebook

Facebook and U.S. DollarThis week, a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a $20 million class action settlement that claimed Facebook’s former “Sponsored Stories” ads violated the privacy of users. The three judges ruled unanimously to uphold the settlement that would pay about $15 a piece to the 614,000 users who joined the suit. About $2 million of the settlement would also go toward charity organizations including children’s groups, and about $5 million would pay the attorneys involved. 

One of the central arguments of the case was whether or not Facebook could use images of minors without parental consent as it often did in its “Sponsored Stories” ads. However, the suit also argued that adult users had their rights violated by the short-lived feature, since no user provided consent for the feature to use their pictures.

Even though the settlement seems like a huge win, some factions in the class action suit still aren’t pleased with it. Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen argued that the agreement still makes it too easy for Facebook to use pictures of minors.

“We’re disappointed that the court approved the settlement that allows Facebook to continue violating the laws in seven states that require parental consent,” an attorney for the group said.

Whether or not the settlement went far enough in protecting Facebook users can be debated, but it’s good for all users that a court stepped up unanimously to defend privacy rights.