Facebook engaged in false advertising by publicizing a user’s “like” for the publication USA Today even though he never gave the newspaper a thumbs-up, a new suit claims.
“Although plaintiff has nothing negative to say about USA Today newspapers, plaintiff is not an avid reader of USA Today, nor does plaintiff endorse the newspaper,” according to the complaint filed by Colorado resident Anthony DiTirro in California federal court.
DiTirro claimed that he has been a Facebook user since 2009 but has never clicked on USA Today’s Facebook page, Web site, or ads featuring the paper and never clicked his “like” button for the publication.
After a friend notified him about his “like,” which appeared in a sponsored ad on the site, DiTirro filed suit, seeking class status for other Facebook users whose likenesses and Facebook profiles have been used “to create a false impression that its customers are promoting a particular company or product without said customer’s knowledge or consent.”
Among other charges, the 10-count complaint alleges the social networking site misappropriated his name and image, violated his right of privacy by placing him in false light, and ran afoul of California’s false advertising law. Seeking injunctive relief as well as actual, statutory, and punitive damages where available, the complaint seeks to certify a nationwide class of Facebook users.
To read the complaint in DiTirro v. Facebook, click here.
Why it matters: The social media site has faced prior class action litigation over its sponsored ads, which resulted in a $20 million settlement. That suit, however, was based on allegations that Facebook users’ names and images were used without their consent, not that they didn’t actually “like” the product or service.