Facebook Faces More Legal Action From Sponsored Stories: This Time For False Endorsements

new-facebook-like-buttonYesterday, Facebook announced it is scrapping parts of its Sponsored Stories ad product — the ads that show what other users “Like.”  It turns out, the same day a Colorado man filed a class action suit claiming the ads were used for false endorsement.

The suit alleges Facebook began showing ads that said “Tony DiTirro likes USA Today.” DiTirro claims he never “Liked” USA Today’s Facebook page or visit the USA Today website.

Facebook USA TODAY Sponsored Story AdDiTirro was tipped off about the ad by a friend, according to the filing. The suit claims Facebook “knowingly used [DiTirro's] likeness and Facebook profile to advertise to the general public that [DiTirro] endorsed USA Today without [DiTirro's] permission.” To that end, Facebook “intentionally manipulated [DiTirro's] Facebook profile to give the general public, and specifically [DiTirro's] Facebook friends, the false impression that [DiTirro] liked or endorsed USA Today.”

DiTirro is seeking at least $750 for himself — and all other Facebook users whose profiles were used to promote products they never endorsed — as restitution for having “suffered irreparable harm and damages as a result of [Facebook's] unlawful and wrongful conduct.”

The papers were filed in San Jose, California and cite a number of legal violations including California Civil Code, Misappropriation of Likeness and Breach of Contract, among others.

In August of last year, the social networking company settled another potential class action suit over its Sponsored Stories ads for $20 million. Earlier this month, yet another class action suit was filed against Facebook for mining private messages.

The full court filing can be viewed here.


H/T Gigaom, Law360

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook | Facebook: Advertising | Facebook: Business Issues | Legal | Legal: Privacy | Social Media Marketing: Advertising | Top News


About The Author: writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting. Beyond Search Engine Land, Ginny provides search marketing and demand generation advice for ecommerce companies. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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  • http://www.treasurepen.com/ TreasurePen

    Ginny, clearly Facebook could have prevented this fairly negative publicity by simply paying the guy the $750 he is looking for in damages, and logic would dictate that they should have, before it got this far. But do we know why they didn’t? Was it because they tried to play the tough guy and refused to be bullied by an individual or was it because they were afraid the flood gates would open if they gave in to one of these claims?

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