It was only a matter of time that a backlash would occur against one of the largest social media networks. This time, it was because of breach of trust issues. It was the Presidential campaign of Donald Trump that saw the retention of private data of 50 million Facebook users, despite their attempts at claiming to have deleted it. The most recent case has been filed in Cook County, Illinois. That claim included allegations similar to the other pending lawsuits against Facebook that will be tried in the federal court. In the complaint, an argument is made that Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and its corporate parent, SCL Group, violated users’ privacy when they violated Illinois laws against fraud. In their response, Mark Zuckerburg and other Facebook executives called their actions a “breach of trust.”
The public at large was concerned about the mass data collection encouraged by Facebook, which assisted developers to build on the platform and provide greater insight into market manipulation and user behavior. It was clearly written in the complaint that, “Facebook is not a social media company; it is the largest data-mining operation in existence.” On top of that, Cook County is the second-largest county in the USA, behind Los Angeles County. For that reason, from an international perspective, the case also has the ability to garner a high level of interest. It must be noted that this suit is not the first of technology-based lawsuits when it comes to privacy.
The fact of the matter is simply this: knowledge of your data can make millions, and this is exactly what Facebook did. Users of Facebook feel violated enough to go ahead and file suit. Members whose information was collected by Cambridge Analytica, the same firm that worked closely with the Trump campaign. Facebook had known about the security breaches and did nothing to protect its users is what is alleged in the complaint. Users also have a higher risk of identity theft as a result. At the very least, Facebook acted negligently. Moreover, it is not just members of Facebook that are filing. Investors have also come on board, in the making of “misleading statements” and they failed to disclose details about party access to data which is the reason why Facebook stocks have fallen. The officers of Facebook owed a fiduciary duty to investors to deal truthfully and honestly with them. Because of the global reach, it is likely that more venues and jurisdictions will be involved. Out of all, the most direct liability is against Cambridge Analytica. They have violated city, state and Federal laws. The reputation of both companies is at stake as well.
Changes to its terms of service are what may have started the legal problems. Previously, it had a binding arbitration agreement included as a term of service. As a result, all legal disputes were to be settled out of court. That is no longer the case. The “choice of forum” clause, which allows lawsuits for lawsuits and has affected them detrimentally. As of now, there are currently sixteen lawsuits that have been filed against them since last week.
Previously, Facebook had a binding arbitration agreement in its terms of service, which required users to settle legal disputes with the company outside of court (these terms can be seen in an archived version of the user agreement). This matter will only grow and grow as result.
Our Oak Brook, Illinois consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action gift card, data breach, privacy rights, deceptive advertising, predatory lending, unfair debt collection, lemon law, and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totaling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, and local law school consumer programs. The Chicago consumer lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle are proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations to obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.
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