A Colorado man is suing Facebook for an alleged false “like.”
Anthony DiTorro claims that in November 2013, the social media network misrepresented that he liked USA Today in a sponsored ad shown to at least one of his friends.
“Although plaintiff has nothing negative to say about USA Today newspapers, plaintiff is not an avid reader of USA Today, nor does plaintiff endorse the newspaper,” the complaint says. The suit also states that DiTorro has never visited USA Today‘s website, or clicked the “like” button on their website or Facebook page.
“Defendant knowingly used plaintiff’s likeness and Facebook profile to advertise to the general public that plaintiff endorsed USA Today without plaintiff’s permission,” the complaint alleges.
Anthony DiTorro’s complaint accuses the Menlo Park-based company of breaking a number of California business and civil codes. The complaint also argues that members of the class action lawsuit should receive statutory and punitive damages of at least $750 per person for the unauthorized use of their likeness in sponsored ads. The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of all US Facebook users whose profiles were manipulated for false endorsements.
Facebook has denied the allegations that it used members’ likenesses for sponsored ads without their consent.
“The complaint is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” a spokesperson said.
The “like” lawsuit comes after the company was accused of allegedly violating its members’ right to privacy by intercepting private messages, without consent, to mine data for profit. Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley filed a lawsuit against Facebook last month accusing the site of scanning private messages with URLs in them “or purposes including but not limited to data mining and user profiling.” The suit alleges that the practice violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
Facebook denied those allegations as well, but the suit cited a report from Swiss security firm High-Tech Bridge that suggests the social network scans links shared in private messages.