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New Facebook privacy lawsuits

Facebook has been hit with two new potential class-action lawsuits stemming from recent revisions to its privacy settings.

The cases, filed recently in federal district court in San Jose, Calif. on behalf of nine Facebook users, allege that the new settings are "confusing and materially deceptive" and lessened their privacy. "Facebook has violated the privacy rights of the members of the Facebook.com Web site, misappropriated their personal information, and converted that information for commercial use by means of materially deceptive conduct," the complaints allege.

Late last year, Facebook sparked controversy by classifying a host of data as "publicly available information" -- including users' names, profile pictures, cities, networks, lists of friends and pages that people are fans of. Facebook also changed the default settings for many users to share-everything, spurring criticism that users who reviewed their settings quickly and accepted the defaults might inadvertently share more than they had intended. The consumers who sued allege that the opt-out controls offered by Facebook are "misleading and very difficult for them to use."

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Author

Cynthia J. Larose

Member / Chair, Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice

Cynthia J. Larose is Chair of the firm's Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, a Certified Information Privacy Professional-US (CIPP-US), and a Certified Information Privacy Professional-Europe (CIPP-E). She works with clients in various industries to develop comprehensive information security programs on the front end, and provides timely counsel when it becomes necessary to respond to a data breach.