Judge Dismisses Class Action Against Facebook for "Friend Finder"

    August 23, 2011

    A federal judge has dismissed a class action against Facebook that claimed the site’s “Friend Finder” feature violated users’ rights to control the use of their names and likenesses, the Daily Business Review reports.

    Northern District Judge Richard Seeborg granted Facebook’s motion to dismiss, with leave to amend, finding that the plaintiffs had not adequately shown they’d suffered any injury.

    “Plaintiffs have not shown how the mere disclosure to their Facebook friends that they have employed the Friend Finder service (even assuming some of them did not) causes them any cognizable harm,” Seeborg wrote.

    Seeborg did, however, find that Facebook had not obtained consent to use names or likenesses to promote Friend Finder and he rejected Facebook’s argument that its terms of service and privacy policy give it the right to use names or profile photos in any manner.

    “Nothing in the provisions of the terms documents to which Facebook has pointed constitutes a clear consent by users to have their name or profile picture shared in a manner that discloses what services on Facebook they have utilized, or to endorse those services,” Seeborg wrote.

    The plaintiffs sued Facebook last November, saying they did not consent to having their names and likenesses used to promote the Friend Finder service.

    The feature prompts users to enter their e-mail account passwords, then it scans users’ e-mail contact lists for people they might want to add as friends. However, the plaintiffs allege, the feature also uploads users’ e-mail contact list to Facebook’s server. The site then repeatedly e-mails nonmembers urging them to join, the suit says.

    Hat tip to Al Saikali, Esq. for a uncovering the Order.

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