Facebook Asks Judge To Dismiss Teens' Lawsuit About Social Ads
The company says the teen users shouldn't be able to proceed in court because they didn't suffer any economic injury by the ads. The social networking service specifically asks U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg to reject the users' theory that Facebook's use of their names and likenesses to generate revenue translates to an economic loss to the users.
"That Facebook earns revenues from ads does not mean Plaintiffs suffered a cognizable injury to their interest in their names or likenesses,” Facebook says in its motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The company adds that the minors “do not allege that they ever intended to seek compensation for their endorsements or that a market for their endorsements exists.”
This case is similar to a class-action about sponsored stories ads, which Facebook recently settled for $20 million. The users in that matter alleged that the ads violated a California law banning companies from using people's names and photos in ads without their consent or, if they're minors, without their parents' consent.
But the teen users who brought this lawsuit allege that all Facebook's social ads -- not just sponsored stories, but also “premium ads" -- violate an Illinois law requiring companies to obtain people's consent before using their names and photos in endorsements.
Despite the value of their apparent endorsements, Facebook failed to obtain legal consent to use plaintiffs’ names or profile pictures in advertisements and plaintiffs were not paid for the use of their name or likeness in connection with the advertisement,” the teen users allege.
In addition to arguing that the users weren't injured, Facebook also says they consented to the use of their names and images by accepting the company's terms of service. Facebook notifies users about social ads in its “statement of rights and responsibilities,” which also require users to agree to its terms. But the minors who are suing say they are “legally incapable of consenting to Facebook’s commercialization of their identities because they are under the age of 18.