Facebook Wins Dismissal of $15 Billion Suit
Facebook Inc. won dismissal of a $15 billion lawsuit accusing the company of secretly tracking the Internet activity of its users after they log off.
U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose, Calif., on Friday agreed with Facebook’s argument that case should be dismissed because subscribers didn’t specify how they were harmed. The judge, who took more than three years to issue his ruling after hearing arguments in the case, said the users could refile most of their claims in a revised lawsuit.
Facebook users alleged in a 2012 complaint that while they may have agreed to the company’s installation of “cookie” files on their computers to track and transmit their Web browsing, they didn’t consent to such monitoring after logging out of the social network. The lawsuit consolidated similar complaints filed on behalf of U.S. residents who subscribed to Facebook from May 2010 to September 2011 in 10 states, including California, Texas and Alabama.
Facebook, the world’s most popular social-networking service, has been scrutinized by regulators in the U.S. and Europe over how it uses subscribers’ private information. The company has also been hit with multiple privacy lawsuits, from a complaint that it scans users’ private email messages for targeted advertising to a claim that its use of facial- recognition technology has “amassed the world’s largest privately held database of consumer biometric data.”
In the San Jose case, the plaintiffs accused Facebook of violating the U.S. Wiretap Act by monitoring their online activity while they weren’t logged on. They also accused Facebook of improperly profiting from their information.