Facebook Ordered to Produce Valuation and Processing Information

In an Order dated October 15, 2015, a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the N.D. of California granted the motion of a putative class of plaintiffs requiring Facebook to produce information in response to interrogatories and a 30(b)(6) deposition notice. The plaintiffs allege that Facebook has violated the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy law by intercepting users’ private Facebook messages without their consent. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that when a Facebook private message contains a link to a website, and that website contains a Facebook social plugin (or “like” button), Facebook treats the message as an endorsement of the website or a “passive like.” Plaintiffs allege Facebook uses the data it collects during its scan of private messages for purposes such as targeted advertising.

The discovery opposed by Facebook included all “objects and associations” created during processing of the plaintiffs’ private messages, information about Facebook’s assignment of monetary value to Facebook users, and determination of revenue or profits from data collected from users. The court rejected Facebook’s burdensomeness, overbreadth and prematurity arguments, finding the discovery narrowly tailored to the issues raised in the class certification and summary judgment stages of the case.

For more information, Allyson Haynes Stuart

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