Class-Action Suit vs. Facebook Reaches Participant Cap, Not Yet Accepted by Vienna Court

EuropeVersusFacebookApp650There was mixed news on the class-action lawsuit filed against Facebook by Austrian law student Max Schrems and his Europe Versus Facebook group, as PCWorld reported that the suit will more than likely reach the limit of 25,000 participants that was imposed by the plaintiffs, but the court in Vienna has not yet reached a decision on whether to accept the case. UPDATED: The class-action suit reached the 25,000-participant mark Wednesday.

Schrems told PCWorld there were some 22,000 participants as of Wednesday morning, adding that the cap was imposed due to the need to verify and administer every individual claim, and saying:

For the political purpose of the suit, it doesn’t really matter if there are 40,000 or 25,000 participants.

We probably will not be able to join all 25,000 because there will be a certain amount of people where data is incorrect.

Facebook has a closed system. It is not like email, where you can just choose another provider.

If you really are consistently not signing up to a service if you are unhappy with the privacy policies of these companies, you would pretty much have to go back to a landline phone and read the newspaper in the coffee place around the corner. And that really can’t be the solution for the modern age.

Schrems told PCWorld each participant will claim €500 ($667.64) in damages, for a total of €12.5 million ($16.69 million).

A spokesman for the court in Vienna said a decision could come by week’s end, adding:

The responsible judge is currently checking whether the claim is correct and appropriate.

The class-action suit was filed in Vienna Friday, and only Facebook users outside of the U.S. and Canada can join. The multifaceted suit covers topics including:

  • The social network’s alleged participation in the U.S. National Security Agency’s Prism initiative.
  • Its privacy policy.
  • Its tracking of visitors to websites with like buttons.
  • The “absence of effective consent to many types of data use.”
  • Its noncompliance with data-access requests.
  • The “unlawful introduction” of Graph Search.
  • Granting third-party applications access to user information.
  • Monitoring user activity via big data analytics.

Readers: How do you see this class-action lawsuit turning out?

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