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  (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 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.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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