Facebook Hit with Lawsuit Over Privacy Issues

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The social networking Web site Facebook has found itself on the wrong end of a class action lawsuit over changes it made to user's privacy settings at the end of 2009 that apparently cut back on privacy instead of improving it. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District in California, according to Computerworld.

The suit was filed by five Facebook users alleged that the "changes to the privacy settings that Facebook implemented and represented to increase User privacy had the outright opposite effect of resulting in the public dissemination of personal information that was originally private."

When the changes were rolled out, Facebook claimed they were designed to give users more control over what information other users could see, and that it would be easier to configure those settings. The default settings, however, revealed more personal information and included over 29 different controls scattered across several Web pages.

"The privacy setting procedures are grossly ineffective and users are misled into allowing Facebook to having their personal information easily accessed for commercial use, exposing them to identity theft, harassment, embarrassment, intrusion and all types of cybercrime," the suit claimed.

The suit also claimed that the changes made it impossible to block third-party Facebook apps from collecting your personal information, and that Facebook's representation of the changes were "misleading, confusing and disingenuous."

Facebook has not commented on the class action lawsuit.

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Comments

rpaege

Only a complete idiot can’t manage their privacy on FB.  It’s so easy a child could do it.

geoduck

IMO that’s a little strong. You set the privacy setting for personal data on one page separate from the other page where you enter your personal data. This is confusing. Many of the settings are Opt-Out rather than Opt-In. I found more of my data was visible by default than I thought should be. The data should be defaulted to the highest level and let you decide to open it up, not the other way around. Also when you send a card or whatever (I know this because I sent my wife a V-Day card last weekend) it will ask you if this app can use your private data without also saying you are opening up your settings beyond the task at hand. After sending the card I went back to my privacy settings and found a couple of them changed.

Lee Dronick

Also when you send a card or whatever (I know this because I sent my wife a V-Day card last weekend) it will ask you if this app can use your private data without also saying you are opening up your settings beyond the task at hand. After sending the card I went back to my privacy settings and found a couple of them changed.

I have hesitated to use those features because of the privacy warning. On the other hand
Harry could use some help fertilizing his crops in FarmVille. smile

Seriously, I don’t play FarmVille, but it still seems to take up a lot of my bandwidth.

geoduck

Sir Harry
Did you notice this article which explains why you and I are not playing FarmVille.

Lee Dronick

Did you notice this article which explains why you and I are not playing FarmVille.

Yes, I just commented on it. I have been half tempted to make a post on FaceBook. “Harry needs help stowing rounds in the magazine on ShipVille.”

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