Facebook is facing two class action lawsuits in California over its practice of collecting user data to build profiles. According to a report on Law.com, the lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that Facebook’s sharing of users’ data with third parties, particularly mobile device makers without obtaining consent from users. In both cases, violations of privacy were brought under California’s Constitutional Right to Privacy.
What the Complaints Allege
The first complaint zeroes in on the company’s practice of sharing data with third-party mobile device makers such as Apple and Samsung in spite of using practices such as creation of a login and password. These lead users to believe that they can deny access to third parties. The complaint also alleges that Facebook went to great lengths to push its users to believe that their personal information is safe including from those with whom it shared data.
The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, Oakland resident Velma Serina Rankins, accuses Facebook of sharing her information with nearly 60 device makers without her consent and claims she suffers damages as a result. The class counts all individuals in the United States with Facebook accounts using privacy settings and accessing their accounts via mobile devices between Aug. 30, 2015, and April 19, 2018.
The complaint alleges Facebook violated California residents’ constitutional right to privacy, the Stored Communications Act and trespassing to personal property. The second complaint is similar and is filed by California resident Susan Hwang who owned and used a Facebook account on her cell phone for more than five years.
Can Litigation Change Big Tech’s Practices?
These lawsuits bring the data collection practices of big tech companies such as Facebook and Google under further scrutiny. Facebook has also been hit with a multidistrict litigation over its sharing of user data with British company Cambridge Analytica without the consent of its users. Google has also been hit with a similar class action lawsuit.
As California class action lawyers, we hope these lawsuits help change the way these companies take our personal information and use it without any consent whatsoever. It’s a wrongful and unethical practice, which should be ended and we believe class action lawsuits might have the power to end such practices and hold these large corporations accountable.