Facebook privacy class action lawsuit attracts 17,000 supporters

Facebook is the subject of a class action lawsuit

More than 17,000 people have signed up to a class action suit against Facebook, launched by Austrian law student Max Schrems.

On 1 August, Schrems asked Facebook users to join his claim, filed at Vienna’s commercial court, which urges Facebook to implement privacy changes and pay out damages to users. By Monday 4 August, 5,000 people had signed up and a day later that number has rocketed to 17,000.

Schrems, a member and spokesman for the Europe vs Facebook group, is a long-term opponent of the social network, and has regularly complained about its privacy policies.

Now, he and the group are making a fresh push against the firm, and are trying to gain as much backing as possible.

Schrems said in a statement: “Our aim is to make Facebook finally operate lawfully in the area of data protection. Each additional participant also increases the pressure on Facebook.”

Damages are set at €500 for each claimant, which Schrems said would soon add up. “We are only claiming a small amount, as our primary objective is to ensure correct data protection. However, if many thousands of people participate we would reach an amount that will have a serious impact on Facebook,” he added.

With 17,000 supporters, the claim could add up to €8.5m for Facebook. We asked Facebook to comment on the lawsuit, but it has declined.

The case is being funded by litigation-funding company Roland Prozess Finanz AG, which will take a 20 percent cut of damages. The firm’s CEO Arndt Eversberg said: “Because of our long history as a litigation-funding company we are used to levelling the playing field in the fight between David and Goliath. In this case it is particularly necessary.”

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5 August 2014 | 3:38 pm – Source: v3.co.uk

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