In the wake of Nic Cubrilovic’s revelations about the suspicious behavior of Facebook cookies, the social networking site has been hit by lawsuit after lawsuit, all accusing the site of ‘violating wire tap laws’. To date, the number of suits related to the cookie issue amounts to five in total, three of which were filed just this week.
The allegation that Facebook has been tracking user activity online even after the user has logged out has, understandably, rubbed most users the wrong way. The very idea is a blatant invasion of privacy. Of course, what followed the allegation was a quick denial, with Facebook claiming that it did not use its cookies for tracking and instead used it to provide a more ‘personalized experience’ for users and to buff up the site’s security.
They claimed that the cookies’ behavior could simply be attributed to a ‘bug’ in the system and that they had already implemented a ‘fix’. Facebook also claimed that it never keeps browsing data that’s specifically tied to users’ identities and that it doesn’t really track users – whether they’re logged on or not.
Some people, however, were not buying that explanation. Especially, when you consider that Facebook recently filed for a patent titled: Communicating Information in a Social Network System about Activities from Another Domain.” [emphasis added]. In fact, there are some lawmakers who have called for an FTC investigation. It’s still unknown whether the FTC will act on it or not, but the lawmakers have been very insistent on the matter, claiming that it’s well within the responsibility of the FTC to investigate.
Most notable, however, were the five lawsuits that have been filed against Facebook. The first ones were from Chandra Thompson in Missouri and Perrin Aikens Davis in California, which were filed the previous week. The ones this week were filed by Michael Singley from Texas, John Graham from Kansas, and Dana Howard from Illinois.
Facebook, however, believes that these cases are without merit and should all be dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not go into detail or provide enough evidence on how exactly the social networking site tracked them and how exactly they were harmed through it.
Facebook has yet to file any court papers related to this series of lawsuits, but they probably have their arguments readied. How the court will react to these cases though is still impossible to predict. Most people, though, think that Facebook will probably walk away with nothing but a light slap on the wrist.