Facebook Facing New Class Action From Max Schrems

Austrian privacy activist and frequent enemy of Facebook, Max Schrems intends to launch a class action suit against the social network and is appealing to its billion or so users to join him.


Photo: Gil C / Shutterstock

Schrems will be filing a claim in a court in Vienna and has posted a new website calling on other Facebook users to get involved by using Austrian law, where a group can transfer their financial claims to a single person’s class action claim.

In his filing, Schrems is claiming damages of €500 per user, roughly $670, citing privacy violations including allegations of Facebook working with the NSA on the Prism program and the “unlawful” Graph Search.

The €500 figure is intentionally small says Schrems. “We are only claiming a small amount, as our primary objective is to ensure correct data protection,” he says. “However, if many thousands of people participate we would reach an amount that will have a serious impact on Facebook.”

Schrems has been vocal of Ireland’s data protection commissioner, who is responsible for Facebook’s operations outside of North America (FB’s European HQ is based in Dublin), which means Schrems can call on any user over the age of 18 outside of the US and Canada to join him.

“The suit is essentially based on the following unlawful acts of Facebook Ireland,” writes Schrems:

Data use policy which is invalid under EU law
The absence of effective consent to many types of data use
Support of the NSA’s ‘PRISM’ surveillance programme
Tracking of Internet users on external websites (e.g. through ‘Like buttons’)
Monitoring and analysis of users through big data systems
Unlawful introduction of ‘Graph Search’
Unauthorised passing on of user data to external applications

Facebook has not yet responded to requests for comment, according to Reuters.