A new Facebook class action lawsuit has been filed alleging that Facebook shared the personal information of 50 million users with a Trump-linked data firm.
Plaintiff Lauren Price filed the class action lawsuit on Tuesday against the popular social media platform, alleging that Facebook shared personal information of their users with a Trump-linked data firm, Cambridge Analytica.
On Mar. 17, 2018, the New York Times and The Guardian reported that Cambridge Analytica used data from more than 50 million users that Facebook obtained, without consent, under the pretext of academic purposes. In the week following, Facebook has been hit with both Price’s privacy breach suit and a stock-drop suit filed by investors.
Allegedly, Cambridge Analytica used the survey app on Facebook called “MyDigitalLife” to gain access to data. Described to users as a “research app used by psychologists,” it promised to help users better understand their own personalities. To use the app, users had to set their privacy setting to allow it access, as is common with many Facebook related entities. Allegedly, this data mining even affected Facebook users who had not consented to minimal data sharing via the app.
“[Facebook] breached their duties by failing to adopt, implement, and maintain adequate security measures to safeguard the Personal Information, or by obtaining that Personal Information without authorization,” the Facebook class action lawsuit states.
Following the recent reveal that Facebook shared personal information, many users have expressed concern over targeted ads during the 2016 election and whether or not their information was used to identify them as potential Trump voters. Price, who has been a Facebook user for eight years, says she remembers seeing frequent political ads during the 2016 Presidential election.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a statement on Wednesday afternoon stating that the situation was a “breach of trust.” “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” the CEO wrote in a Facebook post.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is allegedly probing whether or not Facebook shared personal information and violated the terms of a 2011 decree. The 2011 settlement between Facebook and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission established that Facebook must get user consent for privacy changes. The settlement followed federal charges that Facebook deceived consumers and tricked them into sharing more data than they wanted to.
A former Facebook platforms operations manager recently stated that “as many as hundreds of millions of Facebook users are likely to have had their private information harvested by companies that exploited the same terms as the firm that collected data and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica.” Should further alleged breaches come to light, Facebook may face further litigation.
Price seeks to represent a Class of all persons who used Facebook accounts in the United States and had their personal information obtained by Cambridge Analytica without authorization. The Facebook class action lawsuit seeks a Class certification, trial by jury, damages, restitution, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.
Price is represented by Clayeo Arnold and Joshua H. Watson of Clayeo C. Arnold A Professional Law Corporation; Steven Teppler of Abbott Law Group PA; Jon Yanchunis and Patrick Barthle II of Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group.
The Facebook Data Mining Class Action Lawsuit is Price v. Facebook Inc., et al., Case No. 5:18-cv-01732, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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