Facebook has been hit with another lawsuit. This one claims the social network uses friends’ Likes—the thumbs-up acknowledgement for posts, comments, and pages—in advertisements for brands they never endorsed.
Anthony Ditirro of Colorado filed the complaint against Facebook through the U.S. District Court of Northern California, seeking $750 for himself and anyone else who has appeared in an advertisement without their consent.
According to Ditirro, a friend told him he’d appeared in an ad for USA Today on Facebook, claiming Ditirro had clicked the Like button on the newspaper.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a restructuring of Facebook’s ad products. The company announced it is killing an older product, Sponsored Stories, and instead emphasizing “social context” in other ad formats. Whatever the wording, it still means ads that feature users’ names and faces as endorsements.
Ghost Likes aren’t a new phenomenon. In 2012, ReadWrite showed readers just how common it was with our story about dead users' Likes showing up in friends and family members' feeds. We highlighted numerous cases of users allegedly liking a business or page from beyond the grave—obviously, an impossible act.
It’s easy to attribute one or two instances of false Likes to user error—a simple Like could slip one’s mind. But it appears false Likes are a larger problem.
This is the second lawsuit to hit Facebook already this year. Last week, a complaint was filed against Facebook that alleges the social network scans messages to determine user activity to better target them with advertising.
Facebook told ReadWrite the complaint is “without merit,” which is a common response by companies when asked about lawsuits.