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$15 Billion Amended Class Action Suit Against Facebook Over User Tracking
engine




msg:4455029
 2:21 pm on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

$15 Billion Amended Class Action Suit Against Facebook Over User Tracking [bloomberg.com]
Facebook Inc. (FB), which is scheduled to begin trading today, was sued by users of its social network in an amended class-action case claiming the company invaded their privacy by tracking Internet usage and seeking $15 billion.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal Court in San Jose, California, combines 21 cases filed across the U.S., according to a statement by Stewarts Law US LLP, one of the firms leading the claim. It accuses Facebook of improperly tracking users even after they logged out of their accounts.


 

Marshall




msg:4455034
 2:44 pm on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

Coincidental timing?

Marshall

dertyfern




msg:4455053
 3:36 pm on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

The first of many suits now that FB's got cash.

engine




msg:4455063
 3:51 pm on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

They had cash previously, but now they have even more cash.

It accuses Facebook of improperly tracking users even after they logged out of their accounts.


There's going to be many watching this aspect of the suit.

incrediBILL




msg:4455176
 11:43 pm on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

The vultures are circling, they smell money.

Just because you log out doesn't mean your cookie was destroyed, silly people. This is true of all websites, not just Facebook. Additionally, many cable companies issue IPs that last for years, so as long as you keep using that IP you're trackable as well.

Visit a few of my sites and I'll show you what tracking is all about ;)

Leosghost




msg:4455182
 11:53 pm on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

You forgot the MWUHAHAHAH ! Bill :)

incrediBILL




msg:4455193
 2:17 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

I thought it was implied.

Needless to say, if I was the judge I'd tell them to get an anonymous proxy, kill their cookies and dismiss the case.

Marshall




msg:4455204
 3:09 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

if I was the judge I'd tell them to get an anonymous proxy, kill their cookies and dismiss the case.


And they would respond with "Whaaaaaat?" If they knew those options, they would not being suing. Have to dumb it down incrediBill.

Marshall

lucy24




msg:4455212
 4:17 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

$15 Billion US? Hm. That's, what, about three cents per Facebook member worldwide?

incrediBILL




msg:4455218
 5:27 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

If they knew those options, they would not being suing.


Ignorance is no excuse.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4455219
 5:30 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

$15 Billion US? Hm. That's, what, about three cents per Facebook member worldwide?

Its not about the money, it's about protecting privacy so that it doesn't become the norm to have none. We have too little of it already. Case in point, did Google really need to record my IP just now with that little +1 button at the bottom of the page? No.

Privacy vs profit, the judge is being asked to send a message over which is more important.

incrediBILL




msg:4455224
 5:55 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Privacy is easy, don't use the service.

Marshall




msg:4455236
 7:31 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ignorance is no excuse.


I know that is not an excuse when it comes to the law, especially criminal law, but is it a case of ignorance or one of technology evolves so fast any more, unless you are a true geek (I use it in the nicest sense) there is no way to know how sites are gathering information.

And I must add, it is really necessary for a site that allows you to log on using your facebook account to gather information about you, your friends, their birthdays, their interests, etc. What protection does a friend of yours have on facebook when you are the one doing the sharing. Yes, I know there are settings to prevent that on facebook, but they do not make it clear. Nor do that make it clear how much information is being shared. And again, why does all that information need to be shared when you simply log on to a website.

So, does this begs the question can I sue my friend for sharing my information with another site without my permission? Privacy settings are backwards, they should default to no sharing and it is up to you to change it to share, not the other way around.

Marshall

zeus




msg:4455251
 8:18 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

I really dont like how facbook do business, BUT I hate how the Americans want the easy money with suing companies, that I dont think is very patriotic.

lucy24




msg:4455269
 9:39 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

I hate how the Americans want the easy money with suing companies, that I dont think is very patriotic.

?
Last time I looked, government and corporations were different things. Admittedly I haven't read a newspaper in several years...

if I was the judge I'd tell them to get an anonymous proxy, kill their cookies and dismiss the case

And they would respond with "Whaaaaaat?"

So would the judge. It's not long since a local business successfully sued their IT folks for, apparently, not reminding them every hour on the hour that their domain name was coming up for renewal. Where else but the Internet would "They never sent me a bill" carry any weight in court?

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4455299
 11:56 am on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Privacy is easy, don't use the service.

If ignoring privacy is too easy no alternate service is left. You have to draw the line somewhere.

It's not just facebook, brick and mortar stores are trying their hand at the same. A 15 year old girl recently received pregnancy related offers in the mail, which got her father extremely upset with Target, only to discover the store guessed she was pregnant because of what she bought. The father didn't know yet and the store was right. The store had no business spying and trying to profit from it imo, so are we free to NOT use stores either? The problem is growing exponentially right now.

Face recognition software is likely to surpass traditional I.D. as a means of identification before we've even tackled the issue. Are we free not to leave our homes or to avoid traffic/security cams everywhere? This suit is going to offer some precedence, hopefully. Yes we have some control over our facebook timelines but we have none over our friends timelines publicly repeating private information or the ads that make Zuckerberg rich with that information.

incrediBILL




msg:4455311
 1:55 pm on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

The minute you step out the front door any concept of privacy is a myth.

Satellites are taking aerial photos, Google's cars are driving by taking street view pictures, the government has 'traffic cams' on virtually every corner that can theoretically track all your movements using your license plates or facial recognition, and those electronic toll paying devices like 'Fast Track' are now being used to monitor activity unrelated to toll paying such as speeding or movement tracking in general. Not to mention the red light cameras snapping photos all over the place, cameras in every store taking your picture and listening in on conversations every minute of every day.

The phone in your pocket broadcasts your exact location and if that's not bad enough, some idiots use GPS-based exercise trackers to let others see exactly where they are on foot, bike, etc. and worse yet, broadcast their location to the world via twitter and foursquare but cookie tracking is where we draw the line.

Sure, let's start there ;)

</sarcasm>

A 15 year old girl recently received pregnancy related offers in the mail

The most important issue in your example IMO is it was a 15 yo minor. They shouldn't be sending anything to a minor without parental consent, which is a bigger issue than the privacy part. Dad has bigger issues with his daughter IMO than Target sending her offers in the mail, perhaps focusing more on being a Dad in the first place, teaching about birth control, keeping the kid home, etc. and those offers wouldn't be in the mail to start with but of course we should blame Target about privacy issues that came to light because of his incompetent parenting skills. I'm sure Dad had no part to play in that little problem. TBH, I'd be embarrassed, mortified to be exact, to even tell someone that my crappy parenting skills resulted in such a situation in the first place.

However, If you pay in cash and don't use any store loyalty cards the store has no clue who you are. I often pay in cash in many places and do so exactly so the store doesn't know the name of the alcoholic sex maniac that buys all the booze and condoms every week.

Why are people giving stores their personal information? Let me guess, probably a store credit card, which records everything you purchase by default and will need to continue to do so for proof of purchase in any credit card disputes. Don't spend what you can't afford, pay with cash, and privacy isn't a problem, nor is increasing debt but that's another discussion.

Face recognition

Easy solution: burqa

If you've never disclosed your name to them and always pay in cash they won't have a face to compare in their facial recognition database unless someone else is supplying the faces like Facebook.

Then again, if you didn't give your face willingly to Facebook...

That's where I think you'll see privacy issues really hit the fan because you may not upload your image, you may upload nothing or perhaps a cartoon image. However, suddenly you get notified you've been tagged in some photo uploaded by some other idiot and now the cat's out of the bag anyway. Better yet, if they upload your photo and tag it on some service outside your legal jurisdiction you have no real recourse whatsoever unless you just love throwing baskets of money out the window while tilting at windmills.

Oh well, I could rant about this for a while but I need to go brush my teeth so they look nice and white when I look up and smile for satellite photos and the traffic cams tracking my every movement when I go out for lunch later. Not to mention I'll have fresh breath for Sprint, assuming they can sense such things in the latest smart phones, as I sure wouldn't want ads for mouthwash and breath mints suddenly popping up on my phone...

viggen




msg:4455324
 2:58 pm on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

as I sure wouldn't want ads for mouthwash and breath mints suddenly popping up on my phone...


...according to your logic, dont use a (smart)phone...?

Marshall




msg:4455325
 3:01 pm on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL, watch the show "Person of Interest" CBS Thursday.

Marshall

jecasc




msg:4455326
 3:12 pm on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

@incredibill
So what you are saying is, that companies shouldn't have to respect laws and should get away with breaking laws, instead users should protect themselves with countermeasures like proxies that slow down their internet connection which they wouldn't need if companies would abide to privacy laws? And everyone who expects that laws are followed and enforced is a fool?

The only bad thing about this lawsuit is that it comes a few years late. And that it is only about money. People like Zuckerberg belong to jail and not on Wallstreet in my opinion.

greenleaves




msg:4455350
 3:50 pm on May 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wonder what people think is the price of 'free services' like facebook. So many people who never heard 'there ain't no such thing as a free lunch'

azn romeo 4u




msg:4455621
 5:53 pm on May 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

Damn greedy lawyers and opportunists. What laws are there for internet privacy? I'm not familiar with this topic.

incrediBILL




msg:4455624
 6:11 pm on May 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

And everyone who expects that laws are followed and enforced is a fool?


Now you're catching on.

Anyone could tell you anything about how they handle privacy and tracking on a server but unless you get access to those servers to see exactly what's being done you have to merely take there word for it.

Besides, dumping cookies is trivial, it's been around since the beginning of browsers and suddenly it's turned into some big magical thing and users suddenly want "Don't accept cookie" renamed to "Do Not Track" and all sorts of silly mumbo jumbo.

Total madness.

The technology already exists and has existed for years to keep things as private as possible and it's trivial to implement.

FYI, not all proxies are slow and not all proxies are some IP address elsewhere. There are proxy servers you can install in your local PC that filters all communication between your browsers or other applications and the internet, and all headers and content is scrubbed of any tracking data. Completely scrubbed, washed, clean as a whistle, free and takes about 5 minutes or less to install.

Not to mention the fact that my AV software kills all tracking cookies instantly.

And we need MORE nonsense because people are ignorant?

What we need is MORE education and less legislation because, and it bears repeating, tracking is trivial to stop and complete anonymity isn't that hard to attain if you really want it.

It's absurd anyway because most of the people whining about privacy are most likely hacked with key logging scripts recording everything they do right this minute and sending it off to some hackers command & control server, and there are literally millions of machines in these botnets, but THAT nobody really tries to stop as we can't be worried about real privacy threats.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4455724
 11:40 pm on May 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

The minute you step out the front door any concept of privacy is a myth.

That's not the issue, the issue is being spied on for profit. Posting something to Facebook is not the same as walking out your front door. if your neighbor isn't on your friends list they don't see your posts(if you've set it up that way).

Everyone's every movement is being tracked, yes, and for the sake of security it's probably a good thing BUT is it acceptable to do so for the purpose of separating you from the money in your wallet? In a sense that is exactly the opposite of security and if you're prone to being influenced it's dangerous.

improperly tracked users even after they logged out

It's a problem given that Facebook sells the data.

incrediBILL




msg:4455780
 1:49 am on May 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

In a sense that is exactly the opposite of security and if you're prone to being influenced it's dangerous.


Ah ha. Now we're getting somewhere.

Trying to protect the easily influenced, which is a good thing.

However, nobody really protects them from phishing, spam or cons on the phone which is a real threat to privacy, identity and bank accounts opposed to FB knowing they might be prone to buy a cup of coffee if you offer them a coupon.

This lawsuit is all about money, not privacy or helping people, or the dollar amount wouldn't be so large.

The purpose is to help themselves to deep pockets and use public outrage as the gateway to accessing it.

jecasc




msg:4455810
 5:56 am on May 21, 2012 (gmt 0)


This lawsuit is all about money, not privacy or helping people, or the dollar amount wouldn't be so large.


The amount in question is actually $18.75.

The 15 Billion is only a theoretical number if the lawsuit is successfull and every one of the 800 Million facebook users claim the money they are entitled according to the U.S. Wiretap Act.

So nobody will actually get rich. (Ok - perhaps a few lawyers will get rich.)

fearlessrick




msg:4457341
 12:26 pm on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, the lawyers will make some money. It's the second oldest profession and quite useful if you know what you're doing. (Disclosure: my father was a lawyer, but I think he still might have gone to heaven)

I used a similar tactic on my credit card company. Quick story: four credit cards, now all with one company because they bought the company that holds two of my cards. Told them I'd like the cards combined into one to save time and annual fees. They said they couldn't do that according to the law. Said, OK, how about I just stop paying and you spend $#*$!X dollars to hire a lawyer to sue me for $XX. Doesn't make sense, does it?

They ended up giving me a $50 credit. It's extortion by legal means, been going on for eons. Betcha FB will settle and the lawyers will get paid. Not so much for the consumers, unless the govt., via the judge, really wants to cause pain to FB.

tenerifejim




msg:4457856
 4:06 pm on May 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just a little bit of devil's advocacy here - if Facebook cannot monetise it's services somehow (through targeted advertising for example) how is it supposed to pay for the storage for the 2.5 BILLION photos uploaded every month. People use Facebook for the services it provides, mostly this is related to the information that user voluntarily contribute. Without the monetisation of that information then Facebook would not be able to operate and not be able to be able to offer a service that 800+ million people use.

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