The past few years have been a bit of a nightmare for social media behemoth Facebook. The company found itself lurching from one user privacy issue to another and in September last year, Facebook revealed that in one of the worst hacking attacks in its history, as many as 29 million users’ data had been compromised. Hackers managed to get login details of users in that attack. The company has been under a perpetual cloud due to these security issues, and after the company announced the details of the breach last September, a lawsuit was filed in which it was alleged that Facebook had been negligent in its responsibility to protect user data.
Facebook had moved to court to dismiss the lawsuit entirely, but on 21 June, the appeals court in San Francisco ruled against the company and announced that the case could proceed. The claims against the company originate from allegations of failure to protect users’ information and negligence. Judge William Alsup, who was in charge of the ruling stated,
From a policy standpoint, to hold that Facebook has no duty of care here ‘would create perverse incentives for businesses who profit off the use of consumers’ personal data to turn a blind eye and ignore known security risks.
This is a significant development and could prove to be a highly problematic one for Facebook if the details of their security apparatus become public. For a tech company, it is never a good idea if much of the details about one of their products gets out into the public domain. In addition to that, there are other things to consider. The allegations against the company are of a highly serious nature, and if some law firm gets involved in order to turn it into a class action lawsuit, then Facebook might have to cough up a significant chunk of money if the case goes against them. Considering the fact that as many as 29 million users were affected, the total payout could potentially turn out to be an enormous one.