Some Facebook users are asking a judge to put the kibosh on the proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit about the sponsored stories program. The deal calls for Facebook to pay $10 million to various organizations and $10 million to lawyers who sued the company on behalf of users. The agreement also calls for Facebook to give users more control over whether they appear in sponsored stories -- though the details still aren't known. Currently, the program publicizes users' "likes" to their friends.
Health care wasn't the only issue decided by the Supreme Court today. The court also left in place a decision allowing consumers to sue in federal court -- even when they can't necessarily show they suffered financial harm. The Supreme Court matter stemmed from a real estate case. But the legal question is the same one presented by many privacy cases: Do people have "standing" to sue when a law has been broken, but the violation hasn't cost them any money? That issue has taken center stage in recent class-actions against Facebook and Hulu, among others.
Facebook's email move shows that the company "still believes that it can override users' preferences without informing them or obtaining their consent," the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center said Wednesday in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook recently changed users' profiles by hiding the Gmail, Yahoo or other email addresses users had submitted and instead displaying Facebook.com email addresses. Facebook left users in the dark about its high-handed move, but word trickled out this weekend on the Web.
If you visit Orbitz.com and search for hotels, the offers you're shown might differ depending on whether you're using a Mac or a PC. Specifically, if you're using a Mac, the travel site sometimes shows pricier options than if you're using a PC, according to a report in today's Wall Street Journal.
In the latest in a long string of questionable moves, Facebook has replaced users' old email addresses with new Facebook addresses. This means that when you click on a user's contact information in hopes of sending the person a private email, you no longer see the Gmail, AOL, Yahoo or other email address that the person intended for you to see. Instead, you see an email address that was created and controlled by the social networking service.
Facebook has agreed to require developers to post links to privacy policies if their apps collect personal data from users, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced today.
Earlier this week, it emerged that Facebook agreed to give users more control over sponsored stories, and to pay $10 million to various organizations, in order to settle a class-action lawsuit. Now, new court papers filed on Thursday provide more details. For one thing, Facebook will develop "a mechanism that will allow users to see and control which actions they have taken that have led to their being featured in sponsored stories ads."
A feud between humor site FunnyJunk and online comic strip creator Matthew Inman, also known as The Oatmeal, is escalating into one of the oddest battles to date stemming from online copyright infringement.
Privacy company TRUSTe has weighed in against Microsoft's plan to turn on do-not-track by default in the next version of Internet Explorer. "We believe individuals, when properly informed and equipped, should make their own decisions that affect their privacy online," TRUSTe CEO Chris Babel says today in a blog post. "However, we do not believe today's consumers are adequately informed or equipped to properly make decisions that affect their privacy."
Two years ago Craigslist decided to shutter its controversial adult services listings -- which often carried thinly veiled prostitution ads. In the last two years, Backpage.com has become infamous for hosting prostitution ads -- including, in some cases, ads that appear to feature teens. Village Voice Media's Backpage recently was sued by one teen sex trafficking victim, who said the company aided and abetted prostitution by allowing sex ads on Backpage.com.