Facebook sued over Beacon
Facebook has been sued over its Beacon advertising system, which users claim was an unlawful invasion of privacy.
Under the system, which was launched late last year, any purchases bought through adverts served by Facebook were displayed on the user’s profile page.
The move caused a backlash among Facebook users, with the creation of groups such as “Facebook, stop invading my privacy” popping up on the site and a petition for its removal on the MoveOn webpage gathering 50,000 signatures.
The petition detailed the story of “Matt in New York” who had discovered what his girlfriend had bought him for Christmas before the holiday by catching a glimpse of her profile on the social networking site.
A total of 32 people have joined the class action lawsuit, filed in California’s District Court, claiming that the site broke fraud and privacy laws. The group are demanding that Facebook delete any data pertaining to customer’s purchases, awards damages and returns any income that arose from the system.
As well as Facebook itself, the lawsuit also brings the advertisers involved into play, naming STA Travel, Hotwire and others as defendants.
The case is not the first legal problem that Facebook has faced. Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg have been accused of stealing the idea for the site from ConnectU, a website that employed Zuckerberg prior to his launching his own social networking site.