Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

Facebook Changes Face, Gets Slapped With Class Action

Facebook's continuous morphing has been a point of contention for its millions of users but now, the shape-shifting has landed the company into some hot water.

A class action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for Northern California against the social networking giant, based on the changes to the privacy settings made by the company last November and December, claiming that Facebook mislead its users into believing that their information would be better protected.

The Facebook lawsuit alleges that the changes to the new Facebook privacy settings reduced the privacy of the social networking site's users. This was contrary to the company's claims that the changes would actually increase privacy. In addition, the suit claims that the new settings are making it easier to access the personal information of the users, leaving them vulnerable to "identity theft, harassment, embarrassment, intrusion and all types of cybercrime."

According to Computerworld, the suit alleges that the information provided to users about the privacy settings changes was "misleading, confusing and disingenuous."

These Facebook changes were introduced at the end of last year, after Facebook had settled another privacy suit. The changes included privacy configuration wizard which would allow users to set their privacy preferences. The big problem with the change is that the default settings are now vividly more public. Prior to the changes, only a relatively small amount of personal information was available by default, such as the user's name and the networks the user belonged to. Now, the new default settings include a plethora of personal information including photos, friend's listing and various other information.

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