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$15B Privacy Lawsuit Against Facebook Dismissed: Why?

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Facebook successfully had a $15 billion lawsuit that accuses the social network of secretly invading the privacy of its users dismissed.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed back in 2012, Facebook tracks the online activities of its users after they log off from the social network.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila agreed with Facebook that the lawsuit should be dismissed as the subscribers did not specify how they were harmed by the accused tracking activities of the company.

The judge, after taking three years to release the ruling after hearing the arguments for the case, said that the users could choose to refile most of the claims if the lawsuit would be revised.

The complaint filed in 2012 said that, while the users agreed to the installation of Facebook "cookie" files that can monitor and transmit their online activities on the computers that they use while accessing the social network, they did not agree to having the monitoring continue even after they log out of their Facebook accounts.

The 2012 lawsuit was a consolidation of similar complaints against Facebook that were filed on behalf of residents in the United States that created Facebook accounts from May of 2010 to September of 2011 across 10 states, incuding Alabama, California and Texas.

The plaintiffs of the case accused that Facebook violates the U.S. Wiretap Act through the monitoring of the online activity of users while not being logged on to the social network. The lawsuit also claims that Facebook profited improperly from the information that it acquired through such means.

According to Davila, the users were not able to adequately link the acquired information's value to any realistic economic loss or harm. More specifically, the users were not able to show that they personally lost opportunities to sell such information or that the value of the information was somehow affected after it was collected by the social network.

The plaintiffs were given a deadline of Nov. 30 to revise the claims included in the lawsuit, including the allegations of privacy invasion and violations against the Wiretap Act, which would provide for damages of as high as $100 per violation daily for each user of the social network, the complaint said. This allowed the plaintiffs to estimate potential damages of $15 billion, on affected users numbering 150 million.

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