Facebook facing mass privacy lawsuit

<p>A “class action lawsuit” against Facebook has signed up 25,000 people.</p>

Facebook is facing a mass "class action lawsuit" against its changes to its privacy policy.

Data privacy campaigner Max Schrems has signed up 25,000 people to the legal case alleging that the way the social networking site monitors its members' activity is in breach of European Union (EU) law. Since Mr Schrems launched the campaign, 7,000 users a day from over 100 countries have registered their support but the lawyer stated that he would be restricting it to 25,000 so as to verify each account.

Facebook has been in hot water over its privacy policies in recent years. Earlier in July, the social networking site was subject of a UK investigation by regulators to determine whether it had broke data protection laws following a psychological study. Facebook conducted a test, without user consent, where it would "manipulate" the news feeds of 700,000 users to control the emotional expressions they were exposed to.

The research was conducted to determine whether a person's mood could be affected by the type of information they see on their newsfeed every day. While Facebook believed it would provide an insight into posting behaviours, the Financial Times and The Register quoted the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) as saying that it would be contacting Ireland's data protection regulator over the issue.

Mr Schrems' lawsuit focuses on a series of allegations that Facebook broke EU privacy laws through a number of new additions to its services. The legal case will assess the introduction of Graph Search, allowing users to track other members' activity on the site, external website tracking and big data analysis.

The lawyer is looking to receive €500 (£396) in damages for each of the 25,000 members signed up, should he win the case.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Schrems said: "It is not an epic fight with Facebook but more of a general question of where we are going and if we respect our fundamental rights in Europe."

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