Ads Could Spark Privacy Lawsuits by Facebook Users

Using member's images without consent could violate laws
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2007 3:20 AM CST's mastermind Mark Zuckerberg smiles at his office in Palo Alto, Calif. in this Feb. 5, 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Facebook's new cutting-edge ads which cherry-pick the names and faces of members who use featured products may violate privacy laws. The ads attach photos and identities of members to products they've purchased or endorsed, but without explicitly obtaining members' consent, reports the New York Times. That could open Facebook to invasion of privacy lawsuits.

A New York state law requires advertisers to obtain "written consent" from models, a tricky feat in a digital environment. Aggrieved parties can press misdemeanor criminal charges, as well as sue. National common law allows those whose name or image is co-opted in an ad to sue, but it's tough to prove damages for those who don't have a famous reputation to hurt. Facebook insists the ads don't violate privacy laws.