back to article Lawsuit says Facebook plunders user names, photos

A federal lawsuit filed on Monday claims Facebook's Friend Finder service uses user names and photos without permission and makes false claims about it usefulness. The feature encourages users to upload their entire body of email contacts so they can be reunited on the social networking site. Facebook often promotes the service …


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  1. Michael C


    I knew this was a scam as soon as I went back into facebook. I had not logged on in over a year, and went back in only to add a farmville plot and befriend my wife and hew mom so they could reap rewards. i noted several faces in that system that i knew had also not been on face book in a year or more, and also noted my wife's face. i know damned well she didn't upload a list of e-mails since she doesn't have them in a contact list to upload from (she uses webmail exclusively) and we had just gone through a process to export them for use for holiday cards, so i knew she did not know how to do it on her own. This was clearly them using faces of people I knew claiming-without claiming they had used it as well, to encourage me to. i figured that was shady, if not illegal, and certainly did not use the option.

    I'm a huge facebook hater. Its a massive time sync with little return value (unless you like gossip circles). For your trouble, they sell your soul to everyone that will buy it, and continually change the security settings and re-default them to "off" exposing you over and over. i have an account simply to make other people happy with their flash games by being a neighbor. I'd love to see the whole sham come cracking down under lawsuits.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "I went back into facebook (...) I'm a huge facebook hater"

      Bzzzt. Does not compute.

      In my case: I'm a huge Facebook hater, never got into it, and never bothered about potential scams.

      I warned the wife countless times on Facebook horror stories, and thankfully she didn't use it in a long while. She also ignores any Facebook notices updates as well... or is that because we share the same email configuration, and I delete them from her account as soon as I see them? :p

      Nah, she reads them too, but then:

      "Cricri's wife, Jane Doe poked you"

      Me: Who's that?

      Her: Dunno.

      Me: Thanks for making my point.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe false advertising too?

    Is there the possibility of a matching suit in regards to false advertising for the other people who land on that feature/page?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Matching suits...

      ... and Beatle boots?

      And a sign on the back of the car?

  3. Da Weezil


    about how an invitation sent to (non facebook user) me by a friend within facebook informed me that I might know other seemingly random and unconnected people who are on facebook... and yes I do... but where did they form that link? The people they linked to me are not linked themselves coming from separate areas of my life.

    I want to know..... Its MY data, and even if a facebook user enters it to send me a communication... I didn't consent to facebook faffing around with it. Until I submit my name and email address to them they have no authority from me to use it for anything else but routing an email to me.

    I have no interest in following the herd to this data gouging bunch of parasites.

    1. Tempest

      Copyright your e-mail

      Add (C) 2009, or whatever date, after your email and maybe write them nasty e-mails.

    2. The BigYin

      Your beef... not with FB, but with your "friend". They were the data controller for "[YOUR] data" and made it public without consent. How are FB supposed to know which data is and is not precious if it is given freely to them by a third party? (This is not just a FB thing, it affects every company).

      The only option would be for FB to contact you personally and then we'd have complaints out FB harassing non-members!

      I took the simple approach - as I am not on FB, I made sure all my friends knew I did not want to be, nor did I want my picture on there. A few snaps of me are up there (public events, parties) but not an awful lot, although with face recognition becoming what it is even a little could be too much.

    3. George Marian


      "facebook informed me that I might know other seemingly random and unconnected people who are on facebook... and yes I do... but where did they form that link?"

      The link is your email address.

  4. Steve Evans


    Anyone that uses friend finder, and trusts Facebook with their messenger username and password, really does deserve everything they get (or lose!). They already know too much!

    1. Code Monkey

      True, but

      Their unfortunate email contacts don't

  5. ElReg!comments!Pierre


    I was under the impression that every single bit of info (included, but not limited to, photos) that users publish via FB became FB's property, for them to use as they see fit (one of the reasons why I don't use the thing). In that case, surely there cannot be any misappropriation. Mildly misleading advertisement, maybe. Was I wrong?

    1. Charles Manning

      You are almost right

      According to FB's terms and conditions you retain ownership of stuff you upload.

      However FB have the right to use that info to do various things like help you to find friends or target advertising etc.

    2. Tempest

      The problem is FB has had so many Terms of Use and you get to automatically agree to them

      Facebook's Terms of Use not only is longer than the U.S. Constitution but it has changed so frequently Furthermore they automatically assume you subscribe to each new variant.

      In my annual Christmas message to friends and acquaintances I added an addendum that says anyone listing my name or e-mail in FB are excommunicated.

      1. Graham Marsden


        Anyone who sends me their "annual Christmas message to friends and acquaintances" automatically gets excommunicated!

  6. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Favor to ask, El Reg ...

    Could we say "non-remedial" instead of "frivolous" once in a while ?

    I'm afraid some screen pixels will wear out.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Is this something I should know about?

  8. J 3

    Yup 2

    "A federal lawsuit filed on Monday claims Facebook's Friend Finder service uses user names and photos without permission and makes false claims about it usefulness."

    Oh, yes, they do. If it will get them in trouble, I don't know. But at least 2 or 3 friends whom I asked if they had used the "friend finder" mentioned that they didn't... And at least one said the thing claims I did -- which I didn't. So yeah, Facebook is lying (shocker!).

  9. heyrick Silver badge

    <aol> Me too. </aol>

    I was helping a friend set up a profile picture a while ago when they asked "What's the friend's finder?". I told them that it was a naff way Facebook have of enticing idiots to upload their entire contacts list so the company can map who talks to who and pick up a whole lot of unrelated email addresses to spam. "But you've used it" she said. "No." I replied. She then mailed me a screenshot (BMP, gah!) showing FB's claim that I'd found friends using the friends finder. So I went to the main page and pressed F5 a bunch of times until I could mail her back a JPEG screenshot showing that she used the friends finder.

    "Print this out", I said, "and stick it on the wall beside your monitor. Whenever you think of posting anything on Facebook, or putting up any personal information, glance at this picture and you will remember exactly how much to trust Facebook."

  10. Winkypop Silver badge

    Oh, I thought the FB twonk said...

    ....."this site is completely frivolous and we will fight it vigorously"

    when they actually said:

    "this suit is completely frivolous and we will fight it vigorously"

    My bad.

    Still, it's an easy mistake to make.

  11. Yag

    I wonder why...

    ... my name on my fecebook account is "Alfred Nonyme"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I want to join the suit

    I've never used the upload contacts feature - if my name has ever been falsely presented as someone that has then, yes, I want to join the lawsuit, I have been defamed. How do I find out if I've been presented that way to others?

  13. Chris Hill 1


    Our dogs have facebook pages (farmville for friends). Apparently they've found lots of friends using the friend finder. I don't think so, as I've never seen them sat at the computer pawing over facebook.

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