Facebook Sponsored Stories Privacy Settlement Approved By Judge

Facebook found itself the center of a class action lawsuit back in 2011 concerning what some said were privacy violations, a topic that has been ever present for the social network. Five plaintiffs are involved in the suit, and Facebook is set to pay $20 million under the settlement terms. After years of back and forth, a judge has passed the final "okay" for agreement to proceed.

The issue arose with the implementation of Sponsored Stories, something that resulted in Facebook sharing likes given to specific brands (that is, advertisers) with the user's friends on the social network. If a user liked Trademarked Brand X on the network, for example, that users friends may then see a status on their own new feed showing that their friend likes it.

The problem, the plaintiffs argued, is that users were provided with no way to opt-out of this, and that profiles used to essentially hock wares at other users weren't compensated for their use. Facebook agreed to settle the matter for $20 million to those involved in the lawsuit, and to likewise implement ways for users of the social network to control the sharing of related content.

The settlement was delayed, however, because of arguments that it did not protect minors privacy adequately — minors should not have any of their content shared with advertising entities, it was argued. The matter has come to a close, however, by way of U.S. District Judge in San Francisco Richard Seeborg, who says that while the terms way not make everyone happy, it "has significant value."

Reportedly, the changes that Facebook will make under the settlement have a $145 million value, with the social networking having charged Sponsored Stories advertisers about over $230 million from the beginning of 2011 to August of 2012.

SOURCE: Reuters