Facebook may have to pay up for taking information about its users’ calls and text messages.
It was recently discovered that Facebook had been storing copies of Android users’ text messages as well as information about their calls — who they were calling, the duration of the calls, etc. In a new lawsuit issued by John Condelles III in northern California, the company could have to pay up for its actions. According to Guardian, the plaintiff Condelles is seeking at least $5 million.
In Condelles’ filing, he alleges that in collecting users’ private information Facebook violated California’s Unfair Competition, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and more. This isn’t Facebook’s only class action lawsuit at the moment: it’s facing another suit in relation to the Cambridge Analytica revelations. The suit was filed at the federal district court of Delaware.
Facebook’s cataloging of Android users’ text messages and phone call metadata first gained public attention after Twitter user Dylan McKay noticed the info in his downloadable Facebook archive. Via permissions offered in the Facebook app Messenger, users on Android were sending copies of their text messages to the social network as well as information about phone calls, like who was being called and the call’s duration.
Similar to the Cambridge Analytica lawsuit, Condelles’ lawsuit is attempting class action status. This could mean that Android users could potentially benefit from the verdict.
“The judge would have to certify that the claims from the named plaintiff are suitable for class action treatment,” Richard Fields said. Fields is the co-lead counsel of the Delaware class action lawsuit against Cambridge Analytica. In a call with Mic, Fields explained what it would take for the Android texts case to mean money awarded to Android users.
“The courts will look to see if these people have very common damages”
“The courts will look at what caused the harm, if those acts were common to all of this group (the class), and then look at the injuries to see if these people have very common damages,” Fields said. Which could be the case: many users of Facebook Messenger on Android may have agreed to having their call and SMS data archived by the company if they chose to use it as their default texting app (seen here). If the courts consider “the class” to mean people who hit the “Turn On” button, they all likely saw a similar injury: that Facebook scraped their text and call data.
Unfortunately, we won’t know what the courts decide for a while. “The decision process can take anywhere from several months to a couple years after a case is filed,” Fields said. If the courts award class action status to the case, Android users could potentially see some funds come their way — hopefully in real money and not FacebookCoin.