Facebook hit with $15 billion lawsuit over user tracking

The timely class action lawsuit combines 21 cases from across the country that accuse Facebook of invading users' privacy. 


Fernando Alfonso III


Published May 18, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 4:57 pm CDT

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.

Photo by English106

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*First Published: May 18, 2012, 11:39 am CDT