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Objections to Settlement Filed in a Class Action Against Facebook for Privacy Violations

Chavez & Gertler, along with Public Citizen and the Friedman Law Offices, filed objections on behalf of Ginger McCall to a proposed settlement in Lane v. Facebook (N.D. Cal. Civ. No: 08-cv-03845-RS) that would provide no value to potentially millions of Facebook users whose privacy rights were violated by Facebook’s “Beacon” marketing program.  Facebook users complained that online purchases they made from merchandisers participating in the Beacon program were published on Facebook without their permission.

But rather than compensate the millions of Facebook members whose rights were violated, the proposed settlement only called for the creation of a nonprofit foundation that would largely be controlled by Facebook and that would duplicate the work of already existing organizations such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and many other non profit foundations. Under the proposed settlement, Facebook would also terminate the Beacon program, but Facebook had already essentially ended the program in response to widespread negative publicity before the lawsuit was even filed.  Although Facebook would pay $9.5 million to settle the lawsuit, only the named plaintiffs and their attorneys would receive any monetary benefit.  The millions of Facebook users whose rights were violated would get nothing of value.

To view the objections, click here.