NEW YORK, March 26 A California federal judge
has dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit against Facebook
Inc that had accused the company of misappropriating the
names and likenesses of minors who use the social network.
At issue was Facebook's use of minors' names and photos in
targeted advertising in a case that highlighted privacy
concerns. The lawsuit, originally filed in Illinois in 2011, had
sought to represent all minors that used Facebook and had their
names used in an ad.
In a ruling on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard
Seeborg ruled that the minors gave their consent when they
signed up for Facebook under a "statement of rights and
responsibilities" that governs the site.
"We are pleased with the court's ruling affirming that
Facebook's terms apply to all users and establish consent to
publish their names and profile photos near related sponsored
content," Sandeep Solanki, Facebook's associate general counsel,
said in an emailed statement.
In court filings, Facebook had claimed that it only took
information its users voluntarily shared with their Facebook
friends and republished it to those same friends, sometimes with
a related advertisement.
Plaintiffs had alleged that Facebook's "statement of rights
and responsibilities" that governs use of the site was not
enforceable because minors in California could not make
contracts, but Seeborg disagreed.
"Plaintiffs have offered no facts or legal theories upon
which they would be entitled to a declaration that the
statements of rights and responsibilities are unenforceable,"
The case is: C.M.D. et al v Facebook Inc, U.S. District
Court, Northern District of California, No 12-cv-1216.
(Reporting by Dena Aubin; Additional reporting by Dan Levine;
Editing by Stephen Coates)