Facebook might be going through the best of its times after its recent decision of going public and acquiring a minimum valuation of US $104 billion. Shareholders and owners might be ringing the cash registers but a small problem lies ahead. Facebook has been sued by Stewarts Law, a US Law firm for 15 billion dollars for violation of user privacy. Stewarts Law announced that it has combined 21 privacy lawsuits against the social network into a single, class-action suit alleging that Facebook violated privacy preferences by tracking their web usage, i.e. it continued to track users internet activities even after they logged out of Facebook.
Stewarts Law is looking at a huge sum of US $15 billion from Facebook after ringing in the U.S Wiretap Act which ‘provides statutory damages of the greater of $100 per violation per day, up to $10,000, per Facebook user’.
This might be the worst timing situation for Facebook where at the same time its CEO Mark Zuckerberg rings the bell at the Nasdaq Stock Exchange and probably laughs his way to the bank. But as for now, they’ve got this issue to deal with as Facebook is no stranger to lawsuits. Earlier in March, it was sued by 13 individuals after allegedly uploading their address books without permission. Facebook has dealt with many lawsuits but none came to as big an amount as 15 billion dollars.
Timing can play a deciding factor in the Stewarts Law’s case as they have filed the lawsuit just hours before Facebook proceeded for a sit down at the Nasdaq quarters to offer its shares at a starting price of $38. David Straite, a partner at Stewarts, said his firm is ‘evaluating the way in which non-U.S. residents can be added to the plaintiffs list‘ which would mean that the amount could increase way up, adding to Facebook’s woes.
Facebook’s detailed reply on this lawsuit is awaited and their next move will be under high scrutiny.