Social Media

Facebook in 25,000-strong European class action

By Hamza Ali, special to

More than 25,000 people from more than 100 countries have applied to take part in a class-action privacy lawsuit against Facebook.

The case, originally bought by Austrian law student Max Schrems, alleges that the U.S. social network is ignoring European privacy laws and instead applying U.S. laws in Europe.

"It totally ignored that there are different rules for contracts, for privacy law, for data protection" he said.

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As many as 7,000 applicants a day applied to join the suit.

"Right now we've got so many people that we wouldn't be able to process them if we kept collecting more of them." says Schrems,

The 26 year old Schrems also stated that while the list is currently closed they are still collecting details of people interested in perhaps joining at a later date.

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"The first people have now assigned their cases to me…and if any other people wish to join they can do so at a later date".

The Austrian data activist and his privacy advocacy group, Europe v. Facebook, filed the suit in Austria were a group of people can assign their claims to one litigant creating a class action.

The plaintiffs are claiming nominal damages of 500 euros ($667) per user for alleged data violations by Facebook. However Schrems hopes the number of plaintiffs in the case will make this figure add to a more significant number given the number of claimants.

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"We are only claiming a small amount, as our primary objective is to ensure correct data protection," said Schrems. "However, if many thousands of people participate we would reach an amount that will have a serious impact on Facebook."

Facebook declined to comment about the claims made in this lawsuit, which is expected to be heard in courts before the end of the year.