BRUSSELS (Reuters) – An Austrian law student cannot bring a class action suit against Facebook’s Irish unit over alleged privacy violations in an Austrian court, an EU court adviser said on Tuesday, but can sue the company in his home country on his own behalf.
FILE PHOTO: A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this photo illustration May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
Arguing Facebook violated privacy rules, Max Schrems is claiming 500 euros ($ 576) in damages for each of some 25,000 signatories to his lawsuit, one of a series of European challenges to U.S. technology firms and their handling of personal data.
“A consumer who is entitled to sue his foreign contact partner in his own place of domicile, cannot invoke, at the same time as his own claims, claims on the same subject assigned by other consumers,” the EU top court’s Advocate General Michal Bobek said.
The advocate general, whose opinions are not binding but usually followed by the court, said allowing a class action suit in this case would lead consumers to choose the place of the most favorable court.
Privacy activist Schrems, who had argued that individual lawsuits on user privacy would be “impossible” due to the financial burden on users, said a ruling in line with the advocate general’s opinion would still allow him to set a precedent.
“In the advocate general’s view, I can at least bring a ‘model case’ at my home jurisdiction in Vienna, which may enable us to debate the illegal practices of Facebook in an open court for the first time,” Schrems said in a statement.
Facebook said the advocate general’s opinion supported the decision of two courts that Schrem’s claims could not proceed as a class action.
While common in the United States, class action suits are rarely recognized in Europe.
“It is not for the Court to create such collective redress in consumer matters, but eventually for the Union legislator,” the Advocate General said.
Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels; additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in Vienna; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and John Stonestreet
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) announced a plan to increase transparency about its role in political advertising on Friday, ahead of congressional hearings next week on social media companies and Russia’s meddling in last year’s U.S. presidential election.
FILE PHOTO: Facebook logo is seen at a start-up companies gathering at Paris’ Station F in Paris, France on January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo
Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president for ads, said in a blog post that the company would launch a publicly searchable archive next year containing details about the advertisements it runs related to U.S. federal elections.
Details will include the size of spending and the demographics of the audience the ads reached, Goldman said. The archive, beginning with ads carried in 2018, will cover a rolling four-year period, he said.
Internet political ads have boomed in recent years as U.S. politicians looked for different ways to reach potential supporters, and as companies including Facebook have created tools to allow targeted marketing.
Online ads, though, are generally viewable only to the intended audience, raising concerns among transparency advocates, researchers and lawmakers about how to hold politicians accountable for what they say.
The planned archive reflects a change in corporate policy for the world’s largest social network, which had previously resisted the idea.
In June, Facebook told Reuters that it would go on treating political ads like all others and that creating an online repository would violate the confidentiality of those advertisers.
Since then, Facebook, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google have all said that Russia-based operatives bought ads and used fake names on their services to spread politically divisive messages in the months before and after the 2016 U.S. election.
Moscow has denied interfering in the election.
Next week, general counsels for Facebook, Google and Twitter will testify before public hearings of three U.S. congressional committees about the alleged interference and proposed legislation to require them to disclose election-related ads.
Goldman wrote in his post: “Transparency helps everyone, especially political watchdog groups and reporters, keep advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups.”
Facebook said its archive will eventually expand beyond the United States and show ads from elections in other countries and jurisdictions.
In the future, advertisers on Facebook will also be required to include a disclosure in election-related ads, to read: “Paid for by,” the company said.
The announcement fleshes out ideas that Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg outlined in September, as criticism of California-based Facebook built inside the United States over the Russian ads.
The changes will test in Canada before being brought to the United States ahead of November 2018 elections, Facebook said.
Twitter took similar steps this week, saying it would add labels to election-related ads and say who is behind them, and it barred two Russian media outlets from running ads.
Reporting by David Ingram in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Laharee Chatterjee and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Tom Brown
A 48-year-old Lithuanian man named Evaldas Rimasauskas managed to defraud internet giants Facebook and Google of $ 100 million over a span of two years, according to Fortune and the United States Department of Justice. How’d he do it? A little email phishing, of course.
Rimasauskas set up several accounts in Latvia and Cyprus under the name of an Asian “computer hardware manufacturer” that does business with the search giant and the social giant, according to the Justice Department. Then he set up fake email accounts pretending to be representatives of the hardware company. He used those fake accounts to request money from Google and Facebook, who wired cash his way. That kind of cash may have caused some raised eyebrows at the banks into which Rimasauskas funneled the money, but he “forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents” of Google and Facebook, according to the Justice Department. Read more…
Can Facebook use all that it knows about us to help stop someone from committing suicide?
It’s been more than a rhetorical question since January, after a video, pulled from the social media platform Live.Me and shared on Facebook, showed a 12-year-old Katelyn Nicole Davis taking her own lifeFacebook couldn’t control the spread of the video and appeared unsure if it even violated its own terms of service.
A month later, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 6,000 word global community manifesto made it clear that Facebook is ready to take on a more parental role, one that acknowledges its incredible influence and impact over nearly 2 billion people around the worldZuckerberg wrote: Read more…
Facebook has hired a former NBC and CNN journalist to lead its news partnerships team, a major hire as the platform deals with criticism over its role in spreading misinformation around the election.
Campbell Brown will be filling the new role, which was first posted in December. Brown previously worked as a television reporter centered on politics for NBC, later moving to CNN, where she continued to cover politics. She helped anchor CNN’s 2008 election coverage and hosted various shows. CNN and Brown parted ways in 2010.
Most recently, Brown started an education-focused non-profit focused
Brown announced the move in a Facebook post. Read more…
It’s been almost a week since one of Facebook’s employees was arrested for allegedly attempting to solicit sex from a 15 year-old girl, and the company has yet to say anything. Dov Katz, the head of computer vision at Oculus VR, was arrested at a hotel near Seattle on December 21, where he allegedly thought he was meeting a 15 year-old girl.
Those thinly veiled shots that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took at Donald Trump last month apparently had no bearing on how his company spends its money.
The social network said Thursday that it will sponsor both the Republican and the Democratic conventions this summer — providing both events with financial backing, a “Facebook Lounge” on the premises and other forms of support.
Facebook said in a statement that its involvement in the events does not mean the company is vouching for any particular candidate or party. Rather, it considers the sponsorship to be a chance to encourage its users to participate in the election.Read more…
The feature is rolling out to Messenger’s iOS and Android app over the next 24 hours, Facebook’s head of Messenger said Wednesday. A phone icon will appear in the top right corner of group conversations once the feature is live.
When you’re in a call, you can see who in the group is participating in the call and who is not. There doesn’t appear to be a limit on how many group members can participate simultaneously. Read more…
Facebook crashed for at least 10 minutes today and then struggled to fully come back online.
When users tried to open or refresh their Facebook pages a little after 12:30 p.m. ET today, they were greeted not with their news feed but with a largely blank screen that simply said, “Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.”
The site began to come back online around 12:50 p.m., though some users reported still having trouble loading the site until about 1 p.m.
Facebook did not return a request for information on what caused the problem.