It is pretty tough to find someone these days who does not have a Facebook account. So, when reports broke of data sharing without individuals’ knowledge, let alone permission, it opened up Facebook to a flurry of legal action. If you have serious concerns on this score, a local attorney can help.
What is the Problem?
While the investigation into the facts of the matter is still ongoing, the things we know for sure about Facebook and data sharing are alarming.
At a minimum, nearly 90 million Facebook users across the globe were affected by data mining. This occurred when Cambridge Analytica used data it had taken from Facebook users, unbeknownst to the users.
Cambridge Analytica boasts an ability to target information toward individuals by scrutinizing information gathered from the social media site. After making extensive personality calculations, advertising was directed toward Facebook users. So, while it looks like Cambridge Analytica is responsible for the actual directing of advertising materials and/or political information toward people, they would not have had this ability without the access to Facebook’s massive data collection.
The bare bones of the complaints against Facebook involve a number of state and federal violations, and as the lawsuits amass, it is clear that every legal avenue to challenge Facebook’s potential legal culpability is being tested:
- Price v. Facebook was filed on March 20 of this year and alleges both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica engaged in business practices that are illegal with concern to the use and distribution of personal information
- Hallisey v. Zuckerberg et al accuses Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg of violating the Securities Exchange Act and dishonoring his fiduciary duties
- Lowdowski v. Facebook et al addresses the privacy violations, tucked into allegations of negligence and conspiracy
- Rubin v Facebook et al alleges a violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, California’s Customer Records Act, and the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
- Gennock et al V. Facebook et al are looking to gain $5 million due to alleged violations of the Stored Communications Act
- Renken et al v. Facebook et.al is seeking $500 million as a result of the gathering of communications from Android phones, Facebook Messenger and Facebook Lite
- Zellmer v. Facebook challenges Facebook’s use of biometrics such as fingerprint scans and facial recognition
- O’Kelly v. Facebook et al claims Facebook is guilty of misrepresentation and breach of contract
A contrite Mark Zuckerberg has taken personal responsibility for misjudgments at Facebook during congressional hearings and in public statements. Even so, as recently as March 18, a Facebook executive intimated that the problem was not as serious as it appears, in that there was no actual hack that occurred, so sensitive information and passwords are still safe with Facebook. Instead, Facebook is pointing fingers at Cambridge Analytica for breaching data sharing agreements.
Privacy is Important
Most people agree that privacy must be protected in the modern world. If you have concerns related to the Facebook data breach or any other privacy context, the experienced legal team at HKM will go to bat for you. Contact us in Los Angeles for a confidential consultation today.