A Judge in the US has rejected Facebook’s proposed legal settlement to resolve allegations that the social networking company violated its members’ rights through the its ‘Sponsored Stories’ ad feature. The case was made after complaints that Facebook was using people’s photos in ads without asking for their permission. The feature on Facebook took user photos and used their faces in Facebook’s in-site ads for brands after they had merely clicked the “thumbs-up” button and “Liked” the company. The lawsuit seeks class-action status and was filed in the Northern District of California by five Facebook members on behalf of as many as 100 million users of the social networking site. The settlement proposal calls for Facebook to change its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (“SRRs”) and to implement certain additional mechanisms to give users greater information about, and control over, how their names and likenesses are employed in connection with sponsored stories, according to court documents. Facebook was hoping to settle to claims by paying an offered $20m settlement. However, Judge Richard Seeborg has denied a motion for preliminary approval of the proposal, and implied that the settlement money offered by Facebook was ‘plucked from thin air’.
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