SCOTUS overturns appeal by Facebook in class-action lawsuit over data collection

The nation’s biggest tech firms have been largely permitted to grow without significant regulations in recent years despite concerns among many critics of their increasingly intrusive behavior.

In a surprising move on Monday, however, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a clear blow to Facebook, shooting down an appeal and thus advancing a $15 billion class-action lawsuit against the social media giant.

Details of the complaint

As litigants in the case argue, Facebook illegally wiretapped users when they were not actively using the platform.

Like other Silicon Valley behemoths, the company has come under mounting scrutiny for gathering troves of personal data about its billions of users, raking in tremendous profits from targeted advertisement.

For its part, Facebook attempted to put a benign spin on the practice by asserting that its algorithm protects privacy and that targeted ads actually improve user experience.

While most users might be familiar with the practice of snooping on its users, the company is also accused of employing similar methods on individuals even when they are not actively using the site.

As a result, Facebook is accused of breaking the federal Wiretap Act by using plugins including “like” and “share” buttons on third-party websites to gather information. The alleged wiretapping occurred between April 2010 and September 2011 but has since stopped, according to court records.

“Not an uninvited interloper”

Four California plaintiffs are nonetheless seeking damages by claiming that the company sold their data without their consent.

The nation’s highest court weighed in this week by denying an appeal from Facebook after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals brought the case last year. A federal court previously dismissed the case in 2017.

“Facebook’s user profiles would allegedly reveal an individual’s likes, dislikes, interests and habits over a significant amount of time, without affording users a meaningful opportunity to control or prevent the unauthorized exploration of their private lives,” the circuit court determined.

The company insists that it is not liable since the inclusion of plugins on third-party sites means that it is not an outside party, arguing: “Facebook was not an uninvited interloper to a communication between two separate parties; it was a direct participant.”

This court action marks the latest legal controversy to surround Facebook as Big Tech firms face mounting public scrutiny over privacy concerns — not to mention apparent connections to Democratic officials and increasingly brazen attempts to censor certain types of speech.

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13 Responses

  1. It’s about time! FB, TWITTER and others like them have entirely too much Radical power and Clearly support the Liberals in silencing “anyone” who is a threat to their views alone, and not the people who signed up for them. This includes the wrongful Silencing of President Trump, because he was the biggest threat to the Radical left that is now in power and trying to Destroy America and the Values it once held. Enough is enough, hold them accountable and free the power of Free Speech, that they are Silencing! Thank God the Supreme Court finally woke up!

    1. Unfortunately, The entire SCOTUS crossed the line when they would not open up the fraudulent election that was rammed down the American Citizens throat.

      In other words, the SCOTUS did not adhere to their Oaths they had taken to support the Constitution. They had allowed the Communist in America to destroy what our country was founded on!

      1. I’m sure most Americans feels the same way . Disappointing that the fraudulent election issues was examined more closely.

    1. Break up the company under the Antitrust laws of the US. Need to go after Google as well (and a few others like Amazon) They have gotten too big and as result too powerful. The Feds broke up ATT years ago because they had gotten too big and anti free market. Now they are bigger than they were before with the buyout of Direct TV which is hurting them financially. There has also been merger/buyouts of Internet companies as well reducing competitive markets.

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  3. The Supreme Court no longer serves as the purpose it was intended by our constitution. It should be eliminated. Their are too many ways to amend the laws that no longer protect WE THR PEOPLE!
    They are not going to help with the destruction of fb and big tech either. It is all theatre! The corruption is out of control. This whole election fraud needs to be delt with or we all belong to China and I for one, will pray for the end! No trust in government at all . Clean house! The people fighting for us cannot be heard!!!

  4. Even tho the Supreme Court is the “protector” and “arbiter” of the Constitution of the United States of America, we have seen in the last election that they decided to reject their responsibility to “interfere” in the corruption; now that it all has died down, will finally step up to clear the way for action against the “controlling freaks”. Let’s hope some action will finally succeed.

  5. The Supremes wrong thinking, probably guided by Roberts to not take any election cases because they’ve been intimidated(crazy) by the Dems makes no sense. But, it may be the case. If it was about the packing threat, doing right would just have taken that threat away & Trump would be in the Majority in the Senate would still be ours. These Commie freaks will try to pack anyway if they see a way to do it. I would think that is unconstitutional straight out, a 150+ year precident of 9 & no impending “need” for inventing a Justice slot. Don’t see how that’s a simple majority vote thing either. D.C. is set out in the Constitution as it is for good reason. No majority vote on that either. I know this was off topic but it’s related to me. All these things go together to queer our elections & who controls us. Censorship & total control of media, it’s all about total control. There will be no U.S.A. if they continue. Let’s hope the pushback grows & grows & hey, $5 plus gasoline is not going to be welcomed, even idiots who did throw the lever to the Commies won’t like that. They don’t know it’s all negative for them, Biden is a negative for everybody.

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