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The latest Facebook Trend - Lawsuits

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

While Facebook is now reporting over 500 million members, it is unclear how many of these members are also suing Facebook.

With Facebook's popularity has come an extensive collection of lawsuits.  Check out these legal matters:

Who really owns Facebook? - Could 84% of Facebook soon fall into the hands of web designer Paul Ceglia? It’s unlikely, but to prevent it, Facebook will have to disprove Ceglia’s claims in court. According to the lawsuit filed in the US in the Supreme Court of New York’s Allegany County last month, Paul Ceglia signed a contract with Facebook in April 2003 to design and develop (Facebook’s original name). Facebook said in a statement Friday that the man who claims he owns 84 percent of the company likely "forged" the contract.  It's an unusually forceful denial considering that Facebook rarely talks about pending litigation.  However, it is also unusual that Facebook came under a temporary asset restraining order (now removed) in regards to this lawsuit.

Canadians Still Not Happy With Facebook Privacy - In a lawsuit filed this month by the Merchant Law Group based in Toronto, a class of Canadian users is accusing Facebook of changing its terms of service and users’ privacy settings without their consent.  The claim reads "Facebook intentionally or negligently designs its privacy policies . . . in such a fashion as to mislead and induce users into putting their personal information and privacy at further risk."  This lawsuit is especially concerning for Facebook because Canadians are avid users of the site with nearly 50 percent of the total population being members. Facebook   even changed its policies last year to conform to Canada’s Personal Information and Protection and Electronic Documents Act after receiving harsh criticism - the fastest it has responded to any privacy challenge.

German Hamburg Data Protection Authority sues Facebook - Johannes Caspar, head of Hamburg's data protection authority, told Facebook that he considers the saving of data from third parties, in this context, to be against data privacy laws. Caspar has received a number of complaints from people who had not signed up to Facebook but whose personal details had been added to the website by friends. Facebook has until August 11th to reply to this legal complaint.

UK Murderer - No Lawsuit, Just Bad Press - Facebook has been under fire in the UK for its refusal to take down tributes to UK murderer Raoul Moat, the man who killed one and shot two others in a rampage across the North of England.  Facebook defended the Moat tribute page, saying it could help provide a forum for debate. "Facebook is a place where people can express their views and discuss things in an open way as they can and do in many other places, and as such we sometimes find people discussing topics others may find distasteful," the company said in a statement. "However that is not a reason in itself to stop a debate from happening."

Like Microsoft and Google, Facebook is finding that popularity brings not only revenues but constant criticism and legal action.

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