Print 9 comment(s) - last by Initium.. on Jun 22 at 8:40 PM

  (Source: zagg)
The suit was actually settled last month, but wasn't made public until now

Facebook landed itself in yet another privacy lawsuit over the use of "Sponsored Stories," and will now have to pay $10 million to settle it.

Facebook's Sponsored Stories are advertisements that contain a friend's name, profile picture and text indicating that that particular friend "likes" the product, service, or person being advertised. These ads act as a recommendation from that friend, but there's one problem -- that Facebook friend knows nothing about it, and they're not being compensated for acting as a referral. They also can't opt out.

Five Facebook members sued the social network for these Sponsored Stories, saying that this practice violates California law. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Jose, California.

The suit was actually settled last month, but wasn't made public until now. According to the lawsuit, this could have included one of every three Americans, meaning Facebook could have been in some serious hot water and paid billions if word got out.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh found that Facebook's Sponsored Stories could cause "economic injury" by using friends' names, likenesses and pictures. She ordered a cy-pres settlement, meaning Facebook's $10 million would be sent to charity.

According to Facebook, Sponsored Story advertisements are up to three times more valuable than a regular Facebook ad.

It looks like Facebook is dropping lots of dough lately, with the expansion of its headquarters in Menlo Park, California from 2,200 employees to 6,600, a recent $1 billion Instagram purchase, a possible Opera purchase for $1 billion, and an expected smartphone launch by next year.

Source: Reuters

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By ShaolinSoccer on 6/18/2012 12:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
My mom has a Facebook account. My dad and I do not. Yet, for some odd reason, all the pictures that have my dad and I are tagged with names that are very similar to ours. My tagged name has the correct first name of mine but the middle and last name is someone else that belongs to Facebook. My dad has a correct first and last name and the middle name is off by one word but still contains his middle name and that name also belongs to someone else in Facebook. It's really uncanny...

By TSS on 6/18/2012 1:28:41 PM , Rating: 3
There is nothing of us that isn't tracked yet. I'm pretty sure the entire web is tracking just about everything from everyone, with the exception of some very paranoid people (who where right from the beginning and have no surf history what so ever).

Thing is though at the moment all that data is used for is running it through algorithms which then determine what other data to send back to that IP (such as advertising algorithms etc). No human looks at the data and no system is used to filter out data specifically for human use (just statistical use). With human use i mean determining human behaviour to find out crimes, whatever society might define those as, something that will be detrimental to that human.

It'll be real uncanny when a dictatorship arises with no scrupules about using said data to find out political dissidents. When people start to be dragged out of their homes for something they just clicked on while being drunk last night, today's tracking will seem like the good ol' days.

By Solandri on 6/18/2012 11:44:27 PM , Rating: 2
Pictures are tagged with names by Facebook users, which then applies facial recognition algorithms to guess if other pictures are of you or your dad. Google/Picasa does the same thing.

Facebook tracks you even if you logout, and even if you don't have an account. You see all those FB "Like" icons on web pages? They contain a little script that sets up or updates a cookie and reports back to Facebook. If you're logged out or don't have an account, they just track you as anonymous_user_14892538. Then when you login or do something which confirms your identity to them (like click on a facebook photo link your mom sent you of a photo their facial recognition algorithm has determined is of mom's son), they merge anonymous_user_14892538's browsing history with your FB account or (if you don't have an account) a profile they set up for you.

Only way to prevent this is to use noscript or to explicitly block scripts from And FWIW, it's not just Facebook doing this. I was browsing web stores for a magnifying glass to buy for my nephew's birthday. When I visited Amazon for the first time afterwards, it automatically showed me a bunch of magnifying glasses as suggested buys. I'm guessing some of the sites I searched on prior were Amazon affiliates, and by enabling scripts on those sites (to make some content work), it dropped a cookie which Amazon later peeked at to figure out I was interested in magnifying glasses.

I have Firefox set to delete cookies (the few that I allow) every time I exit it. But even that doesn't stop me from being tracked. Sites can peek into my Firefox config and my list of installed extensions. The exact extensions I've installed are virtually guaranteed to be unique among all browsers on the net, so identifies me pretty exactly even if I delete cookies. They just drop a new cookie, look at my extensions, and merge the new cookie's profile with the old cookie's profile that they kept.

By ShaolinSoccer on 6/19/2012 2:59:22 AM , Rating: 2
When I visited Amazon for the first time afterwards, it automatically showed me a bunch of magnifying glasses as suggested buys.

That same thing happened to me yesterday. I did a search for a product at some website then I went to check my mail at Hotmail and noticed an ad that had a bunch of that same product with different prices listed.

I wonder how many companies would've made money off that if I decided to click that ad and purchase it...

It's like the entire internet has become a joint effort of EVERYONE just trying to make a buck.

By theapparition on 6/19/2012 10:54:27 AM , Rating: 2
I believe this started when some guy got a facebook ad telling him that local singles were looking for him with a picture of his wife.

By torvic apelbergst on 6/21/2012 3:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
What I find most annoying is, the bigger companies like FB or Google get the less they are approachable. (If they ever were). Even in a digital way. It takes hours of deep digging "maybe" to find a customer care e-mail for FB or Google.
All they want is you to spend hours if not days to read FAQ. Companies, especially who run on fuel that is provided by the public, should have a simple RED button on their home page where one can write. It is important that we who make the bulk of their existence can write what we feel the need to voice. They should have a small army to reply anything of real concern.
Who knows the FB or Google e-mail?
I took me 3 month to to nearly rip out of a someone at an another Goggle service the correct e-mail to let them know that they filmed our back lane with 2 trash bins pushed over by racoons. That is how Google showed our landscaped home garden street view for our home talk about good for your business when you are in the Design business and a customer wants to visit your home office.
Talk about failure of service for these giants. FB never replied the one and only written query I had.

By Initium on 6/22/2012 8:40:16 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for taking up this issue. I could not agree more. These companies have become faceless, soulless entities that are virtually impossible to contact let alone get any feedback from. I have used Google for years and have many issues that have never been addressed and would improve my experience with their service but have never been able to find a way to contact them directly and have never received a single reply from any of their forums from Google itself. FB is not a company I will have any truck with at all. They can track me as much as they like. I cannot stop them doing what they do but I can refuse to be a member of their fraternity and participate in the silliness that is social networking. Social networking seems like a good idea but has become more like public masturbation and now only serves big companies to market products. More advertising, something the world needs desperately.

Having a clear and easy to use link on Google's homepage would be a great idea. Actually replying to feedback would show Google does listen and care about the service they provide as opposed to just selling the data they collect to marketers. And make no mistake Google, if you are monitoring this website, your service is far from ideal. Listening to your customers is the best way to improve your service. But you appear to be completely ambivalent to the point of condescension. Sooner or later that is going to come back to bite you. Like all arrogant companies your hubris will be your undoing.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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