Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over Faces

  • Sumo
Facebook like, by Owen W. Brown at owenwbrown.com, licensed via Creative Commons.

Like This Ad

Do you have a Facebook? If so, you might have been used for an ad and not have known it. If your Facebook account had a Facebook Sponsored Story, which featured your name or profile picture, you may be a member in a class action lawsuit. These Sponsored Stories are a form of advertising that typically contained posts, which would appear on Facebook.  These ads were from different businesses, organizations, or individuals who have paid to promote on Facebook, so there is a better chance that the posts will be seen.  Basically, the lawsuit alleges Facebook used users’ names and likenesses to sell/advertise products without the users’ consent.

One Facebook user found himself on an interesting ad for Amazon on Facebook. Nick Bergus ‘favorited’ a tweet and re-posted it on his Facebook account in amusement . The ad was ” a 55-gallon drum of Passion Natural water-based lubricant (and save 46 percent off list!)”. To his surprise, the following week a friend of his posted a screen capture of his post showing up in ads on his news feed. This meant Amazon was paying Facebook to highlight Nick Bergus’ link to a giant tub of personal lubricant. This is one example of many ads that were being featured.

Facebook set aside over $20 million to use as a part of compensation for those who have fallen victim of the Sponsored Stories. Based on the terms of the settlement, Facebook users who had their name, photo, or other information in a sponsored story could have been entitled to a check. They estimated that around 125 million users in the United States were eligible for compensation, which is nearly three fourths of Facebook users. For anything over $20 million, Facebook is going to donate the money to some nonprofit organizations. Facebook has contacted some users to inform them they would be eligible for a payout.