In the eyes of the law, are we all public figures on Facebook?

Source: GigaOm
Coverage Type: analysis
US District Court, Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA, United States

Social media sites like Facebook have long been criticized as catering to users’ own deluded senses of self-importance, but a current lawsuit against Facebook might prove that social media users really are that important.

Within their circles of friends, in fact, users might well be considered celebrities–and that could have big legal implications. When a federal judge last week denied Facebook’s motion to dismiss the case early on, she opened the door for meaningful legal discussion as to how far websites’ privacy policies actually reach and, perhaps, whether social networking makes users not just self-important, but actually important. As the Judge Lucy Koh noted in her order, this case, which stems from Facebook’s Sponsored Stories feature, involves multiples issues of first impression under California law. If the case doesn’t settle, but actually is resolved and likely appealed, it could provide valuable guidance for how future courts will decide issues regarding the relationship between social media sites and their users, and between users themselves. Are we all public figures on Facebook? If so, what does that mean?


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