Facebook has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for its privacy practices, including a class-action lawsuit seeking damages from the company for allowing third parties to access private user data. This week, a U.S. federal judge allowed the suit to move forward, saying the plaintiffs could continue trying to hold Facebook liable for harvesting info.
However, in addition to simply ruling on the case, the judge also had harsh words for Facebook itself, strongly rejecting the company’s argument that users had no privacy interest in the information they share 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,” U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria wrote. “Facebook’s view is so wrong… Sharing information with your social media friends does not categorically eliminate your privacy interest in that information.”
The judge also criticized Facebook for taking an “all-or-nothing” position in regard to privacy, and for making inconsistent legal arguments in various cases.
This class-action suit still has a long way to go before it makes an impact on Facebook’s pocket book, but this ruling is encouraging. It also serves as a reminder that officials are becoming increasingly tired of Facebook’s thin excuses when it comes to protecting user privacy.
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