Lawsuit Against Facebook? “Like” This.

Poking is unacceptable behavior in most social environments, except social networking. But, according to at least one New York lawsuit, even facebook poking is inappropriate and in certain cases, illegal.  

Actually, the lawsuit addresses facebook’s feature of “liking” pages. Facebook—the social networking mogul—is getting yet another thumbs down for its advertising measures, this time, for allegedly using the photos and names of minors who “like” select brands on the website.  

New York resident Scott Nastro filed a suit seeking class-action status this week that claims the name and photo of his child, as well as other minors, have been used in “social ads” by Facebook since 2007 without parental consent. Under the New York Civil Rights Law, a person’s picture cannot be used for advertising purposes without that person’s permission. Nastro not only invoked this law in his complaint, but will likely seek damages. Bloomberg covers this story in more detail.   

Social media—whether restrictions on its use in the workplace or the networking sites themselves—has certainly been receiving a lot of media attention. With so much technology at play in today’s everyday environment, it’s no surprise that the number of suits and subpoenas involving msn, myspace, facebook, twitter, or craigslist, for example, are on the rise.  

Now, requesting data or information from these social media sites is just as easy as signing up for them.  

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (and the blog, An Associate’s Mind) is on your digital defense, sending a “Freedom of Information Act request to a half-dozen government agencies seeking their policies for using social networking sites for investigations, data-collection, and surveillance.”  

Since 1990, EFF has “championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights.” They believe “from the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers.”  

In protection of these digital rights, the EFF has produced Law Enforcement Guides to several social media and e-commerce websites, including:  

  1. Facebook 2010 Law Enforcement Guide
  2. Craigslist Law Enforcement Guide
  3. Twitter Law Enforcement Guidelines    

Litigation is going to see a continued increase in social media and electronic discovery requests. With myriad sites to track and choose from, the process can be complicated. Luckily, the EFF has created a spreadsheet in PDF and XLS formats to compare and juxtapose all pertinent law enforcement and privacy guidelines.

This way, the only thing your firm must worry about is the difference between myface and spacebook.

 

-WB

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