Facebook Hit with Lawsuit Over Privacy Issues

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.