The privacy group Europe vs. Facebook has filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the site has violated EU privacy laws, has not obtained proper consent from users, and has improperly passed on user data to external apps, among other allegations. The group also invited adult non-commercial Facebook users outside of the U.S. and Canada to join the suit, and so far, 11,000 people have joined.
The suit is being financed by an Austrian law firm, and the only claimant listed in the suit is Europe vs. Facebook founder Max Schrems. That means that, if the suit fails, Schrems will be the only individual responsible for costs. The suit is not filing for a large amount of damages, and is instead aiming to raise awareness of Facebook’s privacy practices.
“We are only claiming a small amount, as our primary objective is to ensure correct data protection. However, if many thousands of people participate we would reach an amount that will have a serious impact on Facebook,” Schrems said.
The suit was filed in Austria, in part because Schrems felt Facebook receives sympathetic treatment in Ireland, it’s home base for European operations, because of the large role IT plays in the country’s economy.
Whether this suit succeeds or not (it likely won’t, at least not in any monetary sense for the people who have joined it), it’s still another blow to Facebook’s already bad privacy reputation abroad.