Is Facebook GETTING OFF Easy In This Privacy Suit?

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) will pay $10 million toward charity to settle a lawsuit filed against it by users who allege the social network violated their rights by controlling the use of their names, photographs, and likes. The class-action lawsuit proposed to include nearly one of every three Americans and could have amounted to billions of dollars in damages.

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It was brought about by five Facebook members who said the social network was in violation of California law for making users’ “like” action for brands public on its Sponsored Stories feature. The feature is basically an advertisement that appears on a user’s Facebook page and includes a friend’s name and profile picture alongside a statement saying they had “liked” a brand.

The lawsuit included a comment from the company’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, saying that the value of a “Sponsored Story” was at least twice and up to three times the value of a standard Facebook ad.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the social network’s use of members’ names and photographs without their permission could result in economic injury. “California has long recognized a right to protect one’s name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage,” she wrote.

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