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Sept. 14, 2015


Public Citizen to Tell Ninth Circuit: Facebook Settlement Violates Minors’ Privacy Rights and Laws of Seven States

WHAT: A class-action settlement between Facebook and its users should not have been approved by a federal court because it allows Facebook to continue using minors’ images without their parents’ consent, in violation of laws in seven states, Public Citizen will argue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The case began with a lawsuit filed in 2011 over Facebook’s program of deploying its users’ images in advertising (originally called “sponsored stories”). Under the ad program, when a Facebook member clicks a button to indicate he or she “likes” a company that advertises on Facebook, Facebook creates an ad that displays the Facebook member’s name and image in a manner that suggests the person endorsed the product. Facebook does not seek the consent of members to use their images for advertising and does not seek parental consent when the users are children.

In August 2013, the parties’ lawyers proposed a settlement, which was approved by the district court. Under the settlement, Facebook will include new language in its terms of service stating that users who are minors “represent” that their parents consented to the use of the children’s names and images in advertising. The settlement does not require Facebook to obtain consent from the parents. Accordingly, the settlement permits Facebook to continue using minors’ images without parental consent, in violation of state privacy laws in California, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Public Citizen is representing five parents with teenagers. Find more information on the case.

WHEN: 10 a.m. PDT Thursday, Sept. 17

WHERE: Courtroom 1, Third Floor, James R. Browning United States Court of Appeals, 95 7th St., San Francisco, Calif.

WHO: Scott Michelman, attorney, Public Citizen