We Should Be Able to Take Facebook to Court

This piece originally appeared at The New York Times

After The New York Times revealed last month that Facebook continued to share personal information of millions of consumers with companies like Netflix, Yahoo, Spotify and Google — despite contrary assertions to Congress — many people decided to delete their Facebook accounts. But if Facebook’s actions, as described by The Times, violated the law, consumers should be able to send an even more powerful message, one that could leave a much larger imprint on the company’s ledger books: suing the company for damages.

Facebook knows this and has been working to make it near impossible to do so.

For example, consumers recently filed a lawsuit in Illinois claiming Facebook violated a state privacy law by using facial recognition technology on their uploaded photographs without their consent. Facebook is fighting the lawsuit by trying to get the court to buy into troubling arguments that would make it even more difficult for consumers to sue lawbreaking companies for damages.

Facebook is arguing that the law at issue doesn’t grant consumers the ability to sue companies, otherwise known as a “private right of action,” based solely on the fact that a company violated the law. Instead, according to Facebook, consumers should have to show that the lawbreaking practice caused additional harm beyond a mere violation to get their day in court and damages.

To continue reading this piece at The New York Times, click here

Sign up for the ACLU’s Best Reads and get our finest content from the week delivered to your inbox every Saturday.

View comments (2)
Read the Terms of Use

Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

Andy Warhol was right when he said: "In the future you will only have privacy for 15 Minutes."

Carl Smith

Corporations have some of the same rights as Citizens and the obvious, never mentioned advantage of immunity from jail. Corporate executives apparently have that same privilege. And yet they want another way to be above the law?

Stay Informed