Facebook Hit with Class-Action Lawsuit Following User Data M

After weeks of news headlines and cable-news talking heads scolding Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica breach news, it was bound to happen, and it did April 9: The social network was served with a class-action lawsuit for ostensibly not providing adequate security for its users’ personal information.

The Hagens Berman law firm filed the class-action lawsuit against the social media giant in San Jose, Calif., accusing it of “unjust enrichment and violation of privacy and consumer-protection laws when it permitted app developers and other third parties to exploit its lax to non-existent enforcement practices.”

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District for the Northern District of California seeks to represent a class of the estimated 70 million U.S. Facebook users whose data was harvested in 2014 through a voluntary user quiz form and made available to third-party companies who purchased the Facebook user data to influence voting in U.S. elections.

Think Your Data Was Compromised? Join the Class-Action Lawsuit

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If you had a Facebook account in 2014 and you or one of your Facebook friends used a personality quiz Facebook app “thisismydigitallife,” you may be affected. Find out more about the lawsuit here.

“Facebook has repeatedly failed to uphold its own privacy agreements and policies, and it’s brazenly neglected the data security of the billions of those who use its social media service,” Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said in a media advisory. “Instead of choosing to be vigilant, making appropriate investments in data security and stopping this massive harvesting of users’ information by third parties, Facebook stood by as the private information of millions was funneled into the hands of bad actors.”

Facebook apparently found out the misuse of this data in 2015 and asked Cambridge Analytica to erase any data it had gathered improperly, but according to an investigation by the New York Times, this never happened.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his company’s management had an obligation to verify those user profiles were really deleted when Facebook demanded it.

But that didn't happen. Instead, when Facebook asked Cambridge Analytica in 2015 to erase that information, the company agreed but didn’t actually delete anything. The leaders of Cambridge Analytica lied, and Facebook didn’t check.

"People shared their information via a developer’s app and gave their consent, and that sharing respected their privacy settings on Facebook," Facebook Corporate Communications officer Genevieve Grdina told eWEEK. "Where things went wrong is when the developer (Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan) violated our policies; he improperly obtained and shared that information with Cambridge Analytica and others. He misled people about how he intended to use their information. We obviously take this very seriously, and have already taken steps in the past few weeks to respond to this issue."

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