Court Dismisses Wiretap Claims Against Facebook Inc, Zynga Inc


The wiretapping claims against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) were dismissed on Thursday. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that neither companies violate the federal wiretap law. In 2010, Zynga and Facebook users had filed separate lawsuits against the respective companies.  The lawsuits were later consolidated on appeal. The plaintiffs claimed that the two companies disclosed user information to advertisers.

Court Dismisses Wiretap Claims Against Facebook Inc, Zynga Inc

Law allows Facebook to share user information with others

Anyway, the U.S. appeals court said that the plaintiffs can pursue claims that the user information disclosure violated Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s privacy policies. That means the user information disclosure doesn’t violate the wiretap law, but it does go against Facebook’s privacy policies. Plaintiffs argue that when a user clicks on a Facebook ad or a Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) game, the third-party advertisers receive the user’s IDs and Facebook page address.

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The three-judge 9th Circuit panel said Thursday that the wiretap claims didn’t qualify as “contents of a communication” under the law. And legally, content is different from the user information. The Stored Communications Act allows companies like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to share user information with anybody other than a government entity.

Plaintiffs to pursue privacy policy breach case against Facebook

Kassra Nassiri, the Attorney representing the plaintiffs, said that user information is vital to how Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) makes money. Nassiri said now the plaintiffs will show exactly why Facebook violated its privacy policy. Violation of privacy policy isn’t anything new for the Menlo Park-based company. There have been reports that the company scans and sells your private messages. That’s why privacy advocates had asked the Federal Trade Commission to block Facebook $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp. But the FTC gave a go-ahead to the deal last month.

At its F8 conference, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) launched the Audience Network. It will allow advertisers to place targeted ads in the users’ third-party mobile apps.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares fell 0.28% to $56.60 in pre-market trading Friday.

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