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Facebook Settles 'Sponsored Stories' Suit For $10M To Charity 34

Posted by timothy
from the straight-to-the-hemlock-society-and-nambla dept.
Reuters reports that Facebook has taken the face-saving move (and a cheap one, considering the company's market cap) of settling for $10 million — plus lawyers' fees — the lawsuit brought against it for appropriating users' names and pictures in deceptive ads. Says the linked story: "The lawsuit, brought by five Facebook members, alleged the social networking site violated California law by publicizing users' 'likes' of certain advertisers on its 'Sponsored Stories' feature without paying them or giving them a way to opt out, the documents said. A 'Sponsored Story' is an advertisement that appears on a member's Facebook page and generally consists of another friend's name, profile picture and an assertion that the person 'likes' the advertiser."
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Facebook Settles 'Sponsored Stories' Suit For $10M To Charity

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 17, 2012 @04:45PM (#40353969)

    Dear David,

    Sorry I told all my friends you were gay without asking you if it was okay first. If you were upset by that, I apologize. In order to show my sincerity and to help make amends, I will donate $20 to a charity. In addition, I promise that I will never again betray someone's trust by outing someone's sexuality at one of Mary's barbecues. I will do my best to find another way instead.

    Sincerely,

    Anthony

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Hey Tony!
      I appreciate the sentiment but all I really did was accept a free blowjob at a barbeque. Maybe I had too many beers, but I'll still man up and say Thank You once again. Your alleged first time deep throating was masterful, like you'd been doing it for years! And I'm not admitting to being gay, but it was kind of hot that you both swallowed and then did a clean up suck and lick on my junk.
      Your Jizz donor,
      Dave
    • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Monday June 18, 2012 @04:18AM (#40357241)
      Why has this been modded as funny rather than insightful?

      This is the perfect way how this "sponsored stories" misfeature may backfire. Closeted gay person likes an ad about an anal dildo or a new gay bathhouse in town. Next day, the ad shows up on all his straight friends' and work colleagues' profiles with his name attached...

      • Why the fuck would you "like" anal dildos at all, other than for a joke?
  • That explains it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @05:21PM (#40354271)
    Just last month one of my high schoolmates "liked" a company suddenly out of the blue after a period of inactivity. The problem was my schoolmate died a month earlier. I haven't talked to his parents but I'm sure they were pissed.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by McGruber (1417641)

      Just last month one of my high schoolmates "liked" a company suddenly out of the blue after a period of inactivity. The problem was my schoolmate died a month earlier.

      Maybe he liked his coffin?

  • So do the users have control over usage in Facebook ads now? If not, Facebook won big. Even if so, Facebook has inspired a whole bunch of "social" marketers.

    Ick.

  • Class-y Action (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pandare (975485) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @05:27PM (#40354325)
    As someone who is procrastinating from studying for the bar, I have to say that the key phrase here is "lawyer's fees." Once those words have been invoked, there's no real incentive for the lawyers to look out for the class member's interests anymore. These massive class actions are usually miserable for the class members, but great for the attorneys who take the case.

    As far as what should have been done, giving every facebook user their share would be difficult, but I don't see why they couldn't have come to an agreement to run something like youtube's partnership program and give people who bring in a lot of business for their advertisers a kickback. Everybody else could be given a farmville cow or something (I have no idea what the new big shitty gam^H^H^H data-mining project is).

    Anybody know which charity the money is going to? EFF sounds like a fine choice.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      There should be a Federal surtax on court ordered judgements or court approved settlements from class action suits in which the typical claimant receives less than $100 or so. I'm tired of all these suits that only benefit the lawyers.

    • by jblb (2639331)

      Anybody know which charity the money is going to? EFF sounds like a fine choice.

      And anyone know which charity the lawyers are donating their fee to?

    • Re:Class-y Action (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pepty (1976012) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @10:40PM (#40356039)
      I can't say as the Republican ideas for reforming class action lawsuits are very useful; here's my list:

      1. Strict limit on fees: the class gets a minimum of 65% of the reward. All costs(distribution, printing, whatever) not earmarked by the judge come out of the lawyers 35%.

      2. Strict parity in payments, in both kind and time.

      Kind: The only way the lawyers get paid in cash is if the class is paid in cash. If the class gets $650,000 in coupons, the lawyers are paid $350,000 in identical coupons. They're welcome to sell the coupons on ebay.

      Time: As in the time value of money. At no point during the payout are the lawyers paid their fees in advance of the class being paid their settlement. If a trust is established to pay out claims over a period of years (typical for medical lawsuits), the lawyers get paid incrementally as the claims are paid. If the lawyers wish to be paid up front they can securitize their revenue stream from the trust and sell it. They may get 60 cents on the dollar for it.

      • by N1AK (864906)
        I know the existence of class action suits has benefits but there seem to be so many downsides that I have to hope there's another way. We don't have a real equivalent in the UK and it doesn't feel like we miss it (although it is generally much less risky for an individual to get involved in a lawsuit against a large business in Europe).

        Surely it would make most sense for the lawyer bringing a class action suit to be responsible for contacting the people covered by it and then following their wishes. If
        • Surely it would make most sense for the lawyer bringing a class action suit to be responsible for contacting the people covered by it and then following their wishes.

          Actually, they do, if they have contact info. Case in point: I've lost some money on the stock market during the dot com bubble, and in the years after the crash, I occasionally got letters from lawyers organizing class action suits on behalf of the people that lost out. In these letters, I was proposed the option to participate or to exclude myself from the class. Payments were in cash too, rather than coupons (though much smaller than the amounts lost).

          But I guess, a similar course of action might be dif

          • by N1AK (864906)
            Thanks for the response. The only communications I have seen regarding class actions suits tend to be based on including people by default (ie you can opt out if you take action). Personally I think that should be opt-in. That gives the lawyers more incentive to find people and to make them an offer they are interested in.
          • by pepty (1976012)

            Payments were in cash too, rather than coupons (though much smaller than the amounts lost).

            But I guess, a similar course of action might be difficult in cases where the identity of the harmed parties is not easily known.

            Coupon/rebate settlements are more likely in consumer product lawsuits (we made a lousy product; here's 30% off buying another). They tend to create several kinds of abuse. For one thing, coupons aren't worth their face value in cash - they typically sell for a small percentage of their face value. For another, few of the coupons are ever actually exercised. If Lawyers are paid in cash while the class gets paid in coupons, it's easy for the value of the lawyers' share of the settlement to be several times

        • by JDG1980 (2438906)

          I know the existence of class action suits has benefits but there seem to be so many downsides that I have to hope there's another way.

          There is another way: government regulation. That's what is done in most of Europe. The reason why we have so many class action lawsuits in the US is that American regulations and regulators are so toothless. Without class actions, companies would be free to commit a whole bunch of injustices that are too small to sue for individually, but add up to big profits in the agg

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 17, 2012 @05:45PM (#40354455)

    What charities are receiving the said money and then who owns them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cyclebiff (2509462)
      Zuckerberg Center For Children Who Can't Finish College Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too
      • Saw the design plans for that place, looked a bit small tbh. Need to make it at least 3 times bigger.

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