Privacy, consumer groups ask court to reject Facebook ads settlement

Opponents of the 2013 settlement say it doesn't do enough to protect teens

A coalition of consumer and privacy groups will ask a U.S. court to reject a settlement that allows Facebook to use minors' pictures in advertisements on the site without their parents' consent.

The groups, including Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy, will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reject a US$20 million settlement, approved by a judge last August. Users of Facebook filed the class-action lawsuit in 2011 after the social-media site used their images without permission in advertisements called sponsored stories.

The groups, filing their challenge to the settlement Thursday, argue that Facebook's continued use of teens' pictures without parental consent violates the law in seven states, including California, Florida and New York.

Margaret Becker, a parent from New York, is represented by Public Citizen in the challenge to the settlement. "I'm fighting this settlement because Facebook shouldn't be permitted to use my teenage daughter's image for profit without my consent," she said in a statement. "But this settlement lets Facebook make my daughter a shill and leaves me powerless to stop it."

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), a group slated to receive $290,000 in the settlement, announced Thursday it would reject the deal.

The group now believes the settlement is "worse than no settlement," CCFC director Susan Linn said in a statement. "Its purported protections are largely illusory, and it will undermine future efforts to protect minors on Facebook. We could do a lot of good with $290,000, but we cannot benefit from a settlement that we now realize conflicts with our mission to protect children from harmful marketing."

The settlement allowed cash payments of $15 to Facebook members who submitted valid claims. It also required Facebook to give users better information about, and control over, how their names and likenesses are used in connection with sponsored stories.

Facebook spokeswoman Jodi Seth defended the settlement, saying the company allows users to opt out of the sponsored ad program.

"The court-approved settlement provides substantial benefits to everyone on Facebook, including teens and their parents, and goes beyond what any other company has done to provide consumers visibility into and control over their information in advertising," she said by email. "The same arguments on state law were raised and rejected by the court last year, and a dozen respected groups continue to support the settlement."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How to become the customer experience custodian

The number one objective enterprises give for embarking on a digital transformation is to improve customer experiences with new engagement models, according to IDC’s 2017 global study.

Fear not: It's only a robot

Every time I pass through the automated border controls at the Sydney airport I walk away with a feeling of exasperation on the one hand and relief on the other. Exasperation, because the face recognition technology inevitably always fails to recognise me. Relief, because we seem to be safely years away from the Orwellian reality of states controlling every aspect of our lives; something the media is keenly warning us against each day.

Dan Kalinski

CEO, iProspect Australia and New Zealand

To DMP or not to DMP?

There are plenty of brands that can benefit from plugging into a data management platform. But should you engage an agency to run one or bring it in-house?

Ben Willee and Richard Taylor

Spinach Advertising

I worked at Momentum when the transformation started way back in 2013 (not 2015 as stated in the article). It was a painfully slow and co...

Jay

How Momentum Energy has transformed its entire business to be customer-led

Read more

Another buzzword thoughtlessly latched onto, without any thought for the implications on the organisations that have to lumber through th...

Tired

Rolling out agile marketing at Deakin

Read more

Useful., also don’t miss out on these 5 features of Adobe Experience Cloud - Visit here > http://www.softcrylic.com/b...

Sunil Joseph

Adobe debuts Advertising Cloud, Experience Cloud

Read more

the systems that run these things are teachable just like a car, theres stuff still yet to come out to bring up the automation grade, b...

Magnus Robert Carl Wootton

Fear not: It's only a robot - Big data delivery - CMO Australia

Read more

Marin Software’s digital marketing solution as a short way of streamlining and finding a scalable solution...

Al Drazhev

How BizCover is boosting search advertising success

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in