Facebook, one of the most popular social networking sites in the world, is reportedly being sued by hundreds of Canadian users over claims that the site’s privacy controls were misleading.
With around 320 claimants registered so far, the lawsuit will be one of the largest class-action disputes ever occurring in Canada. What’s more, the lawyers representing the disgruntled users expect thousands more to sign up in the next few weeks via an online form.
The dispute is over Facebook’s privacy settings, as many users claim they were duped into filling out in-depth personal information forms and believing that their details were being kept private. Another related problem reported by claimants is that when a popup window was mistakenly clicked, the user’s privacy settings were set to default. This meant that their private information was made publicly available without the user being aware of it.
The lawsuit states:
“In effect, the changes enacted by Facebook on or about November 19, 2009 and on or about December 9, 2009 and on or about January 20, 2010 were deceptively described by Facebook, leading users to believe their personal information was protected from unauthorized sharing, use and dissemination,”
Due to the number of legal disputes they have faced in the past, Facebook is likely to have some form of professional indemnity insurance in place to cover litigation costs and claims for damages. However, it may take many weeks or months or court battles in order for the company to undo the reputational damage inflicted by yet more controversy over privacy controls.