Facebook is sued – Un-Class[y] Action

Facebook changed it privacy settings last Winter to allow for users to change their security and privacy settings the way they wanted. Unfortunately they also let a certain group of Americans do this, and what do this particular group of Americans like to do…sue! We’ve all seen the “new” Facebook and most people are appalled at the user interface (seriously…it’s changed and get used to it), but I think the new privacy settings are good – I like customization!  The new Facebook settings allows users to set their own privacy settings and make more informed choices on the use of their personal data.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the changes have reduced privacy protections for Facebook users rather than increasing it, as the company had claimed it would. However, the lawsuit, which was filed by five Facebook users on behalf of all Facebook users, alleged that the company’s modifications have only resulted in more personal data being pushed out to the Internet while making privacy options even harder to exercise.

It’s true that the default security setting is, well, not there – the information that Facebook makes publicly available by default includes user names, photos, friend’s listing, the names of any organizations and products that a user might support, as well as geographic data and other information. But get a grip of your account settings, learn to read if needs be and change your settings – I have very little information made available and do not click on the advertisements down the side of the page. Yes Facebook probably make a lot of money from those advertisements (which are aimed personally at you depending on your information), but you don’t need to click on them (even hitting the X button on the adverts is the equivalent as clicking the advert link itself), in doing so (or not doing so) you won’t be giving out your information to the advertisement companies.

Back to the main point here – these Facebook Five are filing a class action suit (class action means “one plaintiff” representing many, click here for more) on YOUR behalf – are they going to give any money to you or I if they are awarded anything? It’s an unfortunate reminder of the times we live in, where anybody and anything can be sued. Is there a lack of common sense? In the past, common sense prevailed: your child received a nasty sting from a nettle in the grass, you found a “Doc Leaf” and rubbed said leaf on the stung area to relieve pain. Today it seems that the “common” thing to do is to sue the Town Council for allowing nettles to grow.

Of course, employing common sense here would mean clicking on privacy settings and changing some things…but that’s just too much hard work, it’s easier to sue.


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