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Facebook Struggles in Privacy Class-Action Lawsuit

Facebook's privacy disclosures "are quite vague" and should have been made more prominent, a federal judge argued.

Facebook, in the midst of a class-action privacy lawsuit, was dealt a blow last week when US District Judge Vince Chhabria argued its privacy policies and practices cause users harm.

In a motion-to-dismiss hearing held Feb. 1, Facebook asked Chhabria to throw away a 267-page complaint from a multidistrict case that had sought billions in damages for the social giant's violations of state and federal laws. Facebook's attorney insisted the company had not broken the law because its users willingly let external parties collect data via their privacy controls.

However, Chhabria said Facebook's disclosures informing users of its data-sharing practices "are quite vague," as detailed in a Courthouse News Service report. Derek Loeser, an attorney representing a proposed class of Facebook users, argued that in order for the policy to be binding, people have to be properly informed before they consent to share their information.

"The injury is the disclosure of private information," said Chhabria in Friday's hearing.

Chhabria gave plaintiffs a chance to file an amended complaint within 21 days instead of first issuing a ruling in an effort to accelerate the litigation. Plaintiffs have agreed, saying they will add new data regarding a Facebook privacy settings change. The new complaint is due Feb. 22.

Read more details here.

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