California Federal Judge grants motion to dismiss class action against Facebook

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California Federal Judge on Wednesday dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit against Facebook Inc. charging the latter of ?misappropriating the names and likenesses of minors who use the social network.?

According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg ruled that the minors gave their consent when they signed up for Facebook under a “statement of rights and responsibilities” that governs the site.

Facebook had claimed that ?it only took information its users voluntarily shared with their Facebook friends and republished it to those same friends, sometimes with a related advertisement.?

However, Plaintiffs alleged that Facebook’s “statement of rights and responsibilities” was not enforceable because minors in California could not make contracts which U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg disagreed on.

“Plaintiffs have offered no facts or legal theories upon which they would be entitled to a declaration that the statements of rights and responsibilities are unenforceable,” Seeborg said.

Facebook, through Sandeep Solanki, associate general counsel, said “We are pleased with the court’s ruling affirming that Facebook’s terms apply to all users and establish consent to publish their names and profile photos near related sponsored content.”

Wexler Wallace LLP, with co-counsel Squitieri & Fearon LLP, Korein Tillery, and the Stuart Law Firm prosecuted this case against Facebook on behalf of a nationwide class of of minor Facebook users whose names and/or likenesses were used by Facebook for commercial purposes without the prior consent of their parents or legal guardians, in violation of guaranteed privacy protections.

According to Wexler Wallace LLP, ?the Complaint alleges that Facebook uses minors? names and profile pictures without the appropriate consent for its endorsement?advertisements, or ?social ads? and ?sponsored stories,? and to generate ?click? revenue, which is paid to Facebook by advertisers every time a user clicks through an ad to the advertiser?s landing page. Facebook places minors? names and likenesses on advertisers? Facebook pages whenever the minor clicks on a button indicating that they ?Like? the advertiser?s brand, good, or service or responds to the advertiser?s event. In addition, Facebook transmits the names and pictures of these underage users to their Facebook Friends? home page feeds announcing their endorsement of the particular advertisement. Once an underage user endorses the advertisement, the user cannot prevent their name and likeness from appearing on a Facebook page and cannot remove their name or likeness while continuing to ?Like? the advertisement.?

The case is: C.M.D. et al v Facebook Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No 12-cv-1216.

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