The Supreme Court this Monday rejected Facebook’s appeal to step in against a $15 billion class-action lawsuit claiming the company is illegally tracking its users even when those users are not on the website. The tech giant is accused of breaking a federal law called the Wiretap Act because they secretly tracked users using Facebook’s “like” button and other tools on third party websites.
The federal lawsuit was started by four people in a California court, asking for $15 billion in damages for the company’s actions. The Supreme Court’s denial of the appeal means the lawsuit will now move forward.
“Facebook’s profiles would reveal a person’s likes, interests and routines over time, without giving users a way to control or stop the unauthorized investigation of their private lives,” the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled when they revived the lawsuit in 2020.
Court documents claimed that Facebook’s tracking without consent stopped after being exposed in 2011.
Facebook has commented that it has maintained privacy standards and should not be punished for everyday communications.
The case is centered around Facebook’s use of “plug-ins,” like the “share button” that many other websites use that allow Facebook to track the activity of its users. The plaintiffs say Facebook is guilty of collecting this data and selling it to advertisers.
Facebook says the data was not collected in an unfair way and that it is used to show more targeted ads and better content.