While Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg and his employees celebrate its historic IPO, the company’s legal team is gearing up to fight a $15 billion lawsuit brought by its own users.
The lawsuit against Facebook is a combination of 21 other cases from around the country accusing the social network of invading their privacy and tracking, Bloomberg News reported.
“This is not just a damages action, but a groundbreaking digital-privacy rights case that could have wide and significant legal and business implications,” David Straite, a Stewarts Law partner, told Bloomberg in a statement.
On Friday morning, Facebook sold 421.2 million shares in its company to investors at a price of $38 each. Before the markets opened today, the company was valued at more than $102 billion, setting a record for a new U.S. public company.
And all of that influenced the timing and punch of the lawsuit, CNET reported.
“ Interestingly, the sum Stewarts and its plaintiffs are seeking — $15 billion — is just $1 billion shy of the cash Facebook will raise in its offering,” CNET added. “However, that damages amount could go up.” Straite told CNET that non-residents may be added to the plaintiffs list, which would dramatically increase the damages sought.
According to the U.S. Wiretap Act, a company can be charged $100 per day, per violation, and up to $10,000. That number multiplied by Facebook’s 800 million users is how the law firm got its $15 billion amount, Bloomberg reported.
This is at least the second class action lawsuit brought against the social network in the last seven months. A Mississippi woman filed a similar suit in October, claiming that Facebook violated U.S. wiretap laws and breached its service agreement by enabling cookies that tracked Internet browsing habits even after a user logged out of its network.
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