Feeds

Unconsenting Facebookers exposed by Beacon denied payouts

Lawyers get rich, plaintiffs get 'not a nickel'

The essential guide to IT transformation

A US appeals court has refused to add to Facebook's $9.5m settlement sea in a class action suit brought over the network's creepy adware service Beacon.

The now-defunct Beacon watched Facebookers as they shopped on affiliate websites and then displayed their purchases on their profile pages. Unfortunately, the social network neglected to ask anyone if they actually wanted to be opted in to the service, leading to widespread condemnation that eventually forced the firm to abandon the scheme.

The class action suit was filed by 19 people who wanted to see Facebook and other businesses who took part in Beacon in court. But Facebook quickly decided to settle the suit with $9.5m, $3m for the plaintiffs' attorneys and the rest to set up a foundation to promote online privacy.

The plaintiffs were naturally pretty ticked off, since they were getting nothing. They tried to argue that the settlement wasn't good enough because a Facebook employee would sit on the board of the new foundation and the pot wasn't good enough.

But the judges voted 2-1 to keep the settlement as it is. The one judge who wanted to up the ante said that the deal was unfair and only really helped lawyers and Facebook.

"This settlement perverts the class action into a device for depriving victims of remedies for wrongs, while enriching both the wrongdoers and the lawyers purporting to represent the class," Judge Andrew Kleinfeld said in the order.

"Facebook users who had suffered damages from past exposure of their purchases got no money, not a nickel, from the defendants."

However, the other judges outvoted him, saying that there was no reason to view the deal as other than "substantial". ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?