The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Thursday that a privacy lawsuit against Facebook can proceed.
Plaintiffs are Facebook users who allege that Facebook violated their privacy rights by tracking their internet activity after they logged out of the platform. Plaintiffs assert their privacy claims on behalf of themselves and users who had active accounts between May 27, 2010, and September 26, 2011. Plaintiffs explained Facebook uses “plug-ins to track users’ browsing histories when they visit third-party websites, and then compiles these browsing histories into personal profiles which are sold to advertisers to generate revenue.”
A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint. The district judge determined the plaintiffs did not have Article III standing and failed to show enough facts to state a claim against Facebook.
Chief Judge Thomas for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district judge’s decision to dismiss the plaintiffs’ Stored Communication Act, breach of contract and breach of implied covenant claims.
However, Thomas reversed the district judge’s decision to dismiss the plaintiffs’ remaining claims. Thomas explained the plaintiffs showed enough facts and information to state a privacy claim against Facebook. Thomas stated:
plaintiffs adequately alleged that Facebook’s tracking and collection practices would cause harm or a material risk to their interest in controlling their personal information. Accordingly, plaintiffs sufficiently alleged a clear invasion of their right to privacy, and plaintiffs had standing to pursue their privacy claims.
As a result, Thomas remanded the lawsuit to the district court for further consideration of the plaintiffs’ remaining claims.