Facebook must confront massive privacy class action in Europe

Facebook will soon have to answer to a massive privacy class action marching forward in Vienna.

The Vienna Regional Court has given the social networking giant four weeks to respond to claims filed by Europe v. Facebook, the group announced Thursday. The suit, which has been filed on behalf of users outside the U.S. and Canada, targets Facebook Ireland.

Galvanized by lead plaintiff Max Schrems, the suit claims Facebook has trampled users’ rights by implementing an opaque privacy policy, cooperating with the National Security Agency’s PRISM program, sharing user data with third-party apps and tracking users’ activity on other web pages with the “like” button. The group also cried foul over Facebook’s introduction of the graph search feature.

More than 25,000 Facebook users have signed up to join the class action, making it one of the the largest suits of its kind in Europe, according to the group. An additional 35,000 users have registered online, the group said. Schrems told The Guardian he capped the class at 25,000 people so he could individually verify users’ accounts.

The class that is taking shape is largely European, with strong representation from Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the U.K., Tech Crunch reported.  The group seeks 500 euros for each plaintiff.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook must confront a class action moving forward in Vienna that accuses the company of violating users’ privacy. (Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP/Getty Images)

Julia Love Julia Love (33 Posts)

Julia Love is a technology reporter covering Apple for the Mercury News. She previously covered the federal courts for The Recorder and American Lawyer Media. She is a Southern California native and alumna of Duke University.