We have previously written in detail regarding the class action lawsuit against Facebook by users that objected to the association of their names and profile pictures with so-called sponsored stories that told their friends when they “liked” a brand on the service. See here and here. Plaintiffs contended that Facebook’s then Terms of Service (since modified) did not obtain sufficient grant of rights to publicity for such a promotional commercial use, for which Facebook was paid by brands, and revisions that made the ability to do so more clear were not sufficiently noticed. The court has now approved a $20 Million settlement, on terms mostly as outlined in our prior posts (the amount of the settlement to be an award of attorney’s fees was reduced). Facebook agreed to make certain policy changes outlined here. Both operators of social media services, and those that advertise on them, need to keep user rights of publicity (the ability to control association of yourself with the promotion of a third party’s products or services) in mind when engaging the so-called social advertising (ads or other sponsored messages that associate a user’s interaction or affinity with a brand to other users). For more information on rights of publicity and advertising, see here and here.
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