Even though Facebook is very useful when it comes to staying connected with friends, spying on your ex, and pretending you’re awfully happy with your life, the social network isn’t letting you do this for charity — rather, it’s vacuuming up as much information about you as it can to sell better ads. Facebook is willing to go pretty far to get all the information it can about you and it doesn’t have a spotless track record when it comes to observing the privacy of its customers. However, a new class action suit that started in Austria is inviting international Facebook users to join in and demand that Facebook fork over cash in exchange for using our personal data.
In the first weekend since launching its “Europe vs Facebook” privacy campaign, the group convinced more than 11,000 participants to join from various European countries, including Germany, Netherlands, Finland and the U.K. Anyone outside of the U.S. and Canada can join the fight.
The suit’s main purpose isn’t to raise money for participants. as damages are deliberately set at a low €500 per user (or around $670) – but to make sure Facebook is doing the right thing when it comes to collecting and using user data.
The class action suit has several “unlawful [Facebook] acts it targets, as listed by TechCrunch:
- Data use policy which is invalid under EU law
- The absence of effective consent to many types of data use
- Support of the NSA’s ‘PRISM’ surveillance programme
- Tracking of Internet users on external websites (e.g. through ‘Like buttons’)
- Monitoring and analysis of users through ‘big data’ systems
- Unlawful introduction of ‘Graph Search’
- Unauthorised passing on of user data to external applications
“We are only claiming a small amount, as our primary objective is to ensure correct data protection. However, if many thousands of people participate we would reach an amount that will have a serious impact on Facebook,” Viennese lawyer and data privacy activist Max Schrems, who started the action against Facebook a few years ago, told TechCrunch in a statement.
To join this international class action suit, users simply have to fill in a special questionnaire available at fbclaims.com (see source link below) – essentially prove they’re adults using Facebook. Whether the class action suit is victorious or not, the users won’t have to pay anything for being part in the trial.