Over the weekend, an investigative report claimed that all of the top 10 apps on Facebook were leaking, possibly selling, user IDs to advertising networks. User IDs can be used to find publicly shared information about a user. Facebook quickly came clean about the problem, but denied prior knowledge of it. The company is now working on a fix with its app partners, including Zynga, who made six of the 10 most popular apps on the social network including FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and several card and puzzle games.
Now, class-action lawsuits have been filed against Facebook and Zynga, accusing the companies of deliberately sharing personal user data with advertising and tracking companies. Both companies plan to contest.
California vs Zynga
The Zynga lawsuit was filed by California resident Nancy Walther Graf, reports the WSJ. Graf accuses the company of selling user information “for substantial profit.” She claims Zynga has violated federal electronic privacy laws and California’s computer-crime law.
“We believe that the complaint is without merit and we intend to defend against it vigorously,” a Zynga representative told PC Mag.
Rhode Island vs Facebook Pt. 2
Facebook is being sued by someone in Rhode Island. Hearing news about the app privacy issue, an earlier suit filed in June was amended to include the new information. The previous suit was about a related user ID sharing issue.
In May, the WSJ discovered that Facebook was leaking user IDs through its ad sales on the site. Facebook promptly corrected the problem, but apparently never thought to see if its app publishers were leaking or selling the same information, leading us to the Zynga debacle of this week. The social network also believes there is no merit to its lawsuit.
What do you think? Is there merit to these accusations? What do you think about Facebok’s continued privacy woes?