Home Business NewsBusiness Why are 25,000 people jointly suing Facebook?

Why are 25,000 people jointly suing Facebook?

7th Aug 14 10:52 am

Many Facebook users have growing concerns about the way the website uses their data.

Now 25,000 users are together filing a “class action lawsuit” against Facebook Ireland, which handles all accounts outside of the US, claiming that the company has breached EU data laws.

There could even have been more people jointly bringing the case, but organiser Max Schrems, a lawyer and campaigner, decided to limit the number of plaintiffs to 25,000.

The accusations against Facebook include that its privacy policy is invalid under EU law, and that it is breaking EU law through its analysis of data and activity, through functions like Graph Search (which lets users look at other users’ activity), and by tracking user activity on third-party websites (through ‘Like’ buttons on other websites, for example).

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Schrems set up the website Europe-v-Facebook.org with the aim of claiming €500 in damages per person.

At peak times in the website’s traffic, one additional claimant was registering with the organiser every six seconds.

Facebook has not yet commented on the case.

You can follow the case and find out about the legal wrangling in full by visiting Europe-v-Facebook.org.

In the website’s ‘Objectives’ section is a powerful message about why this case is so important:

Are EU Data Protection Laws enforceable in Practice? This may be the main question that europe-v-facebook.org is now about. The right to data protection is a fundamental right in the European Union, but at the same time very little companies respect it. Facebook is just one of many that have a bad reputation when it comes to the handling of users’ data.

So the question arises if users are just too lazy to do something about it, or if the laws are in practice unenforceable?

We unintentionally landed in the middle of a big experiment after filing 22 complaints against Facebook in Ireland, because of breaches of the most basic privacy rules. We happened to look at Facebook for a number of reasons, but the results are very likely exemplary for a whole industry.

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