Austrian activist ropes Facebook users into his class-action lawsuit against the company

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Updated at 9:25 a.m. Pacific with comment from Schrems.

Facebook users outside the United States and Canada can now join in an Austrian’s class-action lawsuit against Facebook that seeks damages for data sharing, analysis of users, and other practices.

Activist Max Schrems has filed the suit at the Commercial Court for Vienna, according to a statement the website europe-v-facebook.org issued yesterday.

The suit against Facebook Ireland Limited, the social network’s division for all users outside of the U.S. and Canada, takes issue with a bunch of Facebook’s tactics in recent years, including the introduction of its Graph Search tool, big data analytics on people who use the social network, working with the National Security Agency, keeping track of users when they go off of Facebook through social plugins, and sharing of data with other services.

It’s hardly the first class-action suit against Facebook, which has previously dealt with cases regarding Sponsored Stories, the company’s Beacon program, misleading investors before the initial public offering, and, yes, privacy.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Schrems’ case.

The new suit in Austria could come to represent more than 1.1 billion monthly active users of Facebook living outside of the U.S. and Canada. That’s more than 84 percent of Facebook’s entire user base.

So far, 5,686 people are “verified, but not closely checked” for the class, Schrems wrote in an email to VentureBeat.

The lawsuit seeks damages of 500 euros, or more than $671, per user participating in the class action.

Read the entire suit (in German) here.

More information:

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »

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