Lawsuit says Facebook plunders user names, photos
Seeks $1m for (alleged) Friend Finder sins
A federal lawsuit filed on Monday claims Facebook's Friend Finder service uses user names and photos without permission and makes false claims about it usefulness.
The feature encourages users to upload their entire body of email contacts so they can be reunited on the social networking site. Facebook often promotes the service by showing users the names and photos of their friends along with the claim that the friends found many of their Facebook contacts using the Friend Finder service.
“The misappropriation of names, photographs and likenesses alleged herein has a direct commercial purpose, namely, to increase Facebook's user base, thereby increasing the intensity of such use, all for the purpose of generating additional revenues,” the civil complaint, which was filed in US District Court in San Jose, California, states.
“In each instance in which Facebook uses the name and likeness of a Facebook.com user to promote the Friend Finder service without consent, Facebook violates users' statutory and common law rights of publicity, creates a false endorsement and, in so doing, commits unfair competition, all in an effort to increase Facebook's already massive user reach and the corresponding advertising revenue.”
What's more, the complaint claims, many of the people featured in the promos have never even used the contacts upload feature.
The complaint was filed on behalf of five California-based Facebook users and seeks permission to be refiled as a class action so many more people may join. It seeks an award of $750 for each time a class member's name was used without permission and actual damages of at least $100 million.
"We believe this suit is completely frivolous and we will fight it vigorously,” a Facebook spokesman told The Reg. A PDF of the complaint is here. ®
about how an invitation sent to (non facebook user) me by a friend within facebook informed me that I might know other seemingly random and unconnected people who are on facebook... and yes I do... but where did they form that link? The people they linked to me are not linked themselves coming from separate areas of my life.
I want to know..... Its MY data, and even if a facebook user enters it to send me a communication... I didn't consent to facebook faffing around with it. Until I submit my name and email address to them they have no authority from me to use it for anything else but routing an email to me.
I have no interest in following the herd to this data gouging bunch of parasites.
I knew this was a scam as soon as I went back into facebook. I had not logged on in over a year, and went back in only to add a farmville plot and befriend my wife and hew mom so they could reap rewards. i noted several faces in that system that i knew had also not been on face book in a year or more, and also noted my wife's face. i know damned well she didn't upload a list of e-mails since she doesn't have them in a contact list to upload from (she uses webmail exclusively) and we had just gone through a process to export them for use for holiday cards, so i knew she did not know how to do it on her own. This was clearly them using faces of people I knew claiming-without claiming they had used it as well, to encourage me to. i figured that was shady, if not illegal, and certainly did not use the option.
I'm a huge facebook hater. Its a massive time sync with little return value (unless you like gossip circles). For your trouble, they sell your soul to everyone that will buy it, and continually change the security settings and re-default them to "off" exposing you over and over. i have an account simply to make other people happy with their flash games by being a neighbor. I'd love to see the whole sham come cracking down under lawsuits.
"A federal lawsuit filed on Monday claims Facebook's Friend Finder service uses user names and photos without permission and makes false claims about it usefulness."
Oh, yes, they do. If it will get them in trouble, I don't know. But at least 2 or 3 friends whom I asked if they had used the "friend finder" mentioned that they didn't... And at least one said the thing claims I did -- which I didn't. So yeah, Facebook is lying (shocker!).