Facebook Lawsuit

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Caissa
Facebook Lawsuit

Facebook is facing a lawsuit from angry shareholders and multiple probes from regulators over the disappointing handling of its initial public offering last week.

In a suit filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan late Tuesday, a group of Facebook shareholders are suing the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company, claiming insiders were selectively given secret information about the company's true financial projections from underwriters, while retail investors and other investment houses were left in the dark.

"The revised figures were only passed along to some investors who were therefore able to make profits by selling their IPO shares Friday while shares were on the rise," New York law firm Levi & Korsinsky alleges in the suit.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/05/23/facebook-ipo-stock.html

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

But Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook had behaved so ethically up to this point! There must be some mistake!

torontoprofessor

Bear in mind that Facebook shareholders were, by and large, hoping to cash in on all of Zuckerberg's and Facebook's money-making strategies, both ethical and unethical.

6079_Smith_W

In the same way that people sit down with card sharks in order to cash in on their strategies, of course.

One of the editorials I read on the eve of the IPO pointed out that the biggest liability in that company is Zuckerberg.

 

Caissa

A Brazilian judge has ordered Facebook to delete the profile of a 24-year-old journalist who died in May last year.

The mother of Juliana Ribeiro Campos filed a case arguing that messages, songs and photos posted by friends and family caused her extreme distress.

Ms Campos worked as a press officer in Campo Grande, central Brazil, and died from complications following surgery.

Her mother, sociology professor Dolores Pereira Coutinho, 50, campaigned for months before taking legal action.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22286569

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Centre has been sounding the alarm about Facebook for several years:

Quote:
“If we are going to build systems of communication for future politics, we’re going to have to build them under the assumption that the network is not only untrusted, but untrustworthy. And we’re going to have to build under the assumption that centralized services can kill you. We can’t fool around about this. We can’t let Facebook dance up and down about their privacy policy. That’s ludicrous. We have to replace the things that create vulnerability and lure our colleagues around the world into using them to make freedom, only to discover that the promise is easily broken by a kill switch.” Eben Moglen, keynote speaker at the 2011 FOSDEM Meeting in Brussels on Feb, 5, 2011

Eben Moglen: "Centralized Services like Facebook can kill you".

6079_Smith_W

Caissa wrote:

A Brazilian judge has ordered Facebook to delete the profile of a 24-year-old journalist who died in May last year.

The mother of Juliana Ribeiro Campos filed a case arguing that messages, songs and photos posted by friends and family caused her extreme distress.

Ms Campos worked as a press officer in Campo Grande, central Brazil, and died from complications following surgery.

Her mother, sociology professor Dolores Pereira Coutinho, 50, campaigned for months before taking legal action.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22286569

Bad ruling, IMO.

Of course people need to wise up about their intentions for their online presence in the event of their death, but that is something that should be covered in a will.

How is it that her mom gets to erase her legacy? Is that what she would have wanted? And the notion that she can shut down a tribute from other people is even more of an affront. If she doesn't want to see it, don't go to the site.

 

jas

So you wouldn't want the right to shut down an online profile of your spouse's? That others have access to and can modify by posting on it?

6079_Smith_W

Regarding the shutting down thing, I think facebook already has a system where profiles shut down if the owner doesn't do anything for awhile. There are family members who have tried to keep a site going - without success- in those circumstances.

But in more general terms, there are plenty of cases in which family members are hooped because someone forgot to take care of business when it came to last a last will and testament. It is a cautionary tale. How is this any different?

I could also ask, did Sir Richard Francis Burton's wife have the right to throw his writings in the fire simply because she was married to him and they squicked her brain too much? I think there are plenty of people who would rather that their legacy not be left to those who happen to have the closest legal connection to them.

And as for this person's mother being bothered by others' appreciating her too much. That is just sick and selfish, IMO.

 

jas

Smth, would you want the right to shut down a personal profile of your spouse's or not?

jas

Quote:
Judge Arantes said making the girl's profile into a "memorial wall" went against "the right of personal dignity and inflicted great suffering on the mother, due to the premature death of her only child".

I agree. There are dignity and privacy rights of the dead and their kin.

6079_Smith_W

jas wrote:

Smth, would you want the right to shut down a personal profile of your spouse's or not?

Well in the first place, she is not her spouse, she is her mother. And any of us who have parents and children understand that is quite a different thing. 

But in case I didn't make it clear enough, no. If someone doesn't properly take care of their business when it comes to death, too fucking bad. A family member shouldn't just have the right to step in and assume control. At least not in all things in all jurisdictions. 

And when it comes to clamping down on others' tributes just because someone happens to find it difficult, I think it is quite unethical. After all, these are positive expressions, not slurs.

 

 

janfromthebruce

I understand you have never experienced your child dying. Perhaps you might consider asking a parent of a child who died how they may view this. I am concerned about the lack of empathetic understanding. And that someone was the mother, and just not someone.

To put it into perspective, the most difficult death to experience is the death of your child, and in this situation it was an "only child", not that one would suggest that each child death is not as crucial but it leaves no child.

Perhaps there is more to this story than one is aware of, and is deeply personal.

6079_Smith_W

janfromthebruce wrote:

I understand you have never experienced your child dying.

Sorry, but you know very little about my personal life, and that is a bullshit argument.

Maybe we should ask the dear departed how she feels about her mother erasing her memory and heartfelt expressions of her friends. Too bad we can't do that, though I think we can take something from the fact that someone was putting effort into keeping her memory alive.

Speaking hypothetically, how can we know that a relative in a situation like this is even on good terms with her daughter, that she approved of her friends and lifestyle? That she understands what the dead person would have wanted?

And while we can't know for sure that she is one of those people who takes another person's tragedy and makes it all about them (and I have seen more than a few of those), I do find the motivation here questionable, and more than a little selfish.

As I said above, if someone doesn't take care of things like wills or powers of attourney, those who are left often have to live with the consequences; while it's not the best case, it is sometimes better than the alternative.

I wonder how Ernest Hemingway would have approved of his grandson rewriting his work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Moveable_Feast

Also, I wonder how a Brazilian court can have any jurisdiction in a case like this, and how they can hope to enforce the order.

(edit)

One more thing on the parent-child relationship. As much as parents love their children, they don't own them. And an important part of being a parent is learning to treat your child as an independent person, and not your possession.

As a matter of fact I do have a bit of experience with this situation, and while I had great sympathy for the bereaved parent, what I saw was a lot of clouded judgment. For myself, I love my mother, but I know for a fact she doesn't know me well enough to plan my funeral.

 

 

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Bad ruling, IMO.

Of course people need to wise up about their intentions for their online presence in the event of their death, but that is something that should be covered in a will.

How is it that her mom gets to erase her legacy? Is that what she would have wanted? And the notion that she can shut down a tribute from other people is even more of an affront. If she doesn't want to see it, don't go to the site.

Agree, entirely.

The issue is muddied by the fact that it's the deceased daughter's profile, which raises impossible to answer questions about "what were her wishes". If friends had set up their own tribute page, with all the same messages, with a photo and bio etc., would the court have acted in response to the mother's distress? Would a Canadian court act, in either circumstance? I can only hope the answer is "no".

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

So the private corporation Facebook should continue with its property rights no matter what the family says because that is only fair to them. In a battle between the two legal "people" the corporate person should prevail over the irrelevant mother.

As for dieing without a will at 24, I don't get that argument. I never had a will at 24 and I doubt if more than a small percentage of 24 year old Canadians would have a will. However the court would determine who the heir to the estate is and that is who should be able to decide about any relations with a corporate entity. I doubt if Facebook would have much standing as an heir but the mother at least has a claim that might succeed. In Canada I presume the estate of the deceased would have the authority to tell Facebook to delete  anything it wanted removed from the inherited account, that to me is the proper approach.

Money mouth

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:

So the private corporation Facebook should continue with its property rights no matter what the family says because that is only fair to them.

Hey k, that's rather a gigantic straw person. The story involves Facebook, and maybe property rights to a person's named profile, but the underlying issue is free speech.

As I pointed out, nothing (including I would presume the court's ruling, though I haven't read it... have you?) would stop friends from opening a Facebook tribute page with exactly the same material on it.

Nor would (or should) anything stop such postings on Google+ or even free sites like Diaspora. Or a series of public meetings with attendant posters and advertising.

The Facebook part, and the wishes of the deceased, and the hurt experienced by the family, are all real - but ultimately irrelevant (IMHO) to the question of suppressing speech because someone is hurt and offended by it. Unless, of course, it comes within those categories which society deems need to be controlled, such as defamation, or hate, etc. Which certainly is not the case here.

Finally, if this is all about the rather trivial issue of who owns someone's Facebook profile, then continue the conversation - I think there are more important ownership issues to be determined in society than this one.

6079_Smith_W

Facebook isn't getting anything from this other than bad publicity and some legal bills. And this isn't about them any more than a disupte over a safety deposit box is about the bank.

They could very easily just make this go away by deleting the profile. Unless money has changed hands it's pretty hard to argue that someone else owns it so I fail to see how anyone stands to "inherit" anything. And they already have rules in place regarding death, which (wisely) are not just limited to family.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_and_the_Internet

But like any host they do have to pay some attention their clients and act in a way that shows they can be trusted with people's security. Speaking of bad publicity that they already have.

As well, things aren't exactly the way they were when we were 24 - especially when it comes to a public space like the internet.

None of this changes my main point, which is that people should be able to make their own choices for themselves, or designate who can do that. There are cases where people are SOL if they don't pay attention to that. The rules regarding power of attourney in some provinces are one example. It can result in some real problems for people, but as I said, the alternative can sometimes by far worse.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I agree that people should be able to post memorials on public forums. I didn't think the court ruling extended beyond this young man's personal Facebook page. Speaking of straw men no I haven't read the Judges ruling but then I don't speak or read Portuguese.

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:

 I didn't think the court ruling extended beyond this young man's personal Facebook page.

Young woman.

 

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
How is it that her mom gets to erase her legacy?

Yes, that's what disturbs me about this case.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

 I didn't think the court ruling extended beyond this young man's personal Facebook page.

Young woman.

Of course sorry for the mistake.

Paladin1

This is a really interesting debate.

 

On one hand we all know how utterly heartless, vicvious and hateful people can be on facebook. If I had a family member pass away and their facebook page was subject to those kind of posts I too would want the page deactivated.

On the other hand if someone passes away a facebook page complete with thoughts, pictures, likes, songs, personal tributes by friends and everything else would make a much more pensive tribute to someones life than a stone in the ground. Perhaps.

I kind of see a FB page as someones intellectual properity (well except for FB stealing pictures for ads, giving information out, media stealing quotes etc..). I don't think a parent has a right to remove someones FB page anymore than the parent would have a right to access their email accounts.

 

Maybe this decision could be put in the hands of whoever is the executer of the will?  Considering how personal facebook pages can be this may be something someone might want to consider in their will.

jas

OathofStone wrote:

On one hand we all know how utterly heartless, vicvious and hateful people can be on facebook. If I had a family member pass away and their facebook page was subject to those kind of posts I too would want the page deactivated.

On the other hand if someone passes away a facebook page complete with thoughts, pictures, likes, songs, personal tributes by friends and everything else would make a much more pensive tribute to someones life than a stone in the ground. Perhaps.

It shouldn't matter what the content is, whether it's "good" or "bad". It's the principle that needs to be decided on.

OathofStone wrote:
I kind of see a FB page as someones intellectual properity (well except for FB stealing pictures for ads, giving information out, media stealing quotes etc..). I don't think a parent has a right to remove someones FB page anymore than the parent would have a right to access their email accounts.

Maybe this decision could be put in the hands of whoever is the executer of the will?  Considering how personal facebook pages can be this may be something someone might want to consider in their will.

Facebook didn't merely maintain a profile page. They altered it to become a memorial page. How do they know what the wishes of the deceased would have been? Quite apart from the issue of respecting the wishes of the next of kin, I think Facebook stepped beyond their rights when they altered the page.

And, as Krop points out, if the deceased had no will, the courts would decide this anyway, which they have done here.

jas

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And while we can't know for sure that she is one of those people who takes another person's tragedy and makes it all about them (and I have seen more than a few of those), I do find the motivation here questionable, and more than a little selfish.

I think it's interesting, knowing so little about the case, we're each seeing completely different things in it. Knowing nothing else about the case, I instantly sympathized with the mother. Knowing nothing else about the case, you instantly sympathized with the friends.

It would take a great stretch of my imagination to arrive at the motive you describe above. Instead, I think that people grieve in different ways. Facebook exists on the online interconnections it fosters, so I can see, if the Mom is on Facebook, it might not be that easy for her to ignore that tribute page. I can see many non-sinister reasons for wanting that profile page to be removed. One of them could simply be a primal desire to take control of, to own the memory of her only daughter who is now gone. I think I would have the same feelings.

Bacchus

Except she really cant do that. In fact, the friends could set up an identical tribute page that she would have no control over at all. With every photo and statement copied

 

And thats a very selfish primal desire and totally unflattering.

 

Who has a control over a person? Sounds like a controlling abusive spouse since thats the kind of control they seek to exert. No one is allowed any memory or bit of the deceased? She had no other loves at all? Just mom.  Selfish asshole IMO

jas

Bacchus wrote:

Except she really cant do that. In fact, the friends could set up an identical tribute page that she would have no control over at all. With every photo and statement copied

Perhaps. But it wouldn't have the same linkages that the daughter's page had.

Are you allowed to start a Facebook page in someone else's name? I would have a problem with that, living or dead.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In this case Facebook started the memorial page using the dead person's Facebook info. I don't believe there is any good in a decision that would have said that if you join Facebook and you die they own you. If you are popular enough they can use your image and life story for their corporate purposes. Their only motivation is traffic numbers to sell ads. I find that very disconcerting.

One more good reason not to use Facebook.

6079_Smith_W

@ jas

Who said I don't sympathize with the mother? I just seriously question her judgment. And under any normal circumstances if someone isn't thinking straight you don't bend reality out of shape to accomodate their illusion.

She may not be able to handle it, but the fact is that her daughter was her own person who was alive, and had her own circle of friends who appreciated her.

This has nothing to do with sympathy, but rather who should have the right to take over other people's stuff. I don't think we need to know a lot about this case to recognize that principle. If something abusive or slanderous was happening here that would certainly have been front and centre in the court case.

And again, who wants to lay money that this ruling is unenforcable?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

This has nothing to do with sympathy, but rather who should have the right to take over other people's stuff. I don't think we need to know a lot about this case to recognize that principle.

Quote:

Judge Arantes said making the girl's profile into a "memorial wall" went against "the right of personal dignity and inflicted great suffering on the mother, due to the premature death of her only child".

Facebook guidelines include a right to remove a deceased user's timeline and all content associated with it upon request by a verified family member.

However, the social network also set out the idea of a memorial wall in the company's blog in October 2009.

Indeed the question is who should have the right to take over someones stuff and you are siding with Facebook. I don't think a corporation should have the right to take over dead peoples images or legacy. The mother did not take her daughters friends to court she took a soulless corporation who was using her dead daughter to sell ads. Her daughter signed up for a Facebook page not a memorial wall.

6079_Smith_W

Yes k, I am siding with facebook on this one.

But I think we might not be appreciating this travesty in all its full sensational glory. Obviously this mother is taking a brave stand against facebook's plot to make billions in the dead profile racket.

As for the relationship, anyone who signs up for a free online service should know the deal when they click "accept". If she didn't want to have that association, why did she sign up in the first place.

(edit)

For that matter, our little pingpong game here is helping sell ads too. Should we also demand that those of us who have left or passed on have our records stricken so we aren't exploited? Or does that just apply to big bad facebook?

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

So where in the "deal" does it say that Facebook can alter your page when you die and keep in running in the face of your family saying they don't want it to continue.  I would like you to find the clear language you think gives them that right because I doubt if it is made clear to anyone signing on to Facebook that it owns your page and its images after you die.

jas

Anyway, Facebook did remove the profile. Finally.

http://www.cbc.ca/strombo/technology-1/judge-orders-facebook-to-respect-...

 

One thing that's mentioned in all the articles is that

Facebook guidelines include a right to remove a deceased user's timeline and all content associated with it upon request by a verified family member.

 

I don't know what is meant, in Facebook terms, by timeline. If it's all the posts by the profile owner/author, and replies by friends, then that renders some of the other arguments here moot.



6079_Smith_W

Well since Facebook is not the party who took action here, I'll turn that first question back to you.

Legal and blood relation doesn't necesarily mean much when it comes to consent. If that were the case there'd never be any need for restraining orders, powers of attourney and the like. And according to the story this isn't about protecting the daughter's memory, but rather the suffering claimed by the mother.

Is an internet host supposed to ignore its reponsibility to its clients security with no other grounds than that someone else is upset by its content?

I brought up the terms of service because you are turning this into a question of exploitation and profit, something that was not part of the mother's argument. Clearly the daughter made that choice when she signed up with facebook in the first place.

6079_Smith_W

Oh great.

So if someone's grandparent refuses to recognize that their dead relative was gay, or didn't like their politics, or just held a grudge, down the memory hole it goes.....

I hope her mom sleeps better at night knowing that her kid is completely dead and nobody can talk about her now.

I also hope that the daughters friends who knew her, but may not have know each other got the chance to establish contact, because that avenue is closed now.

 

 

jas

To use your own argument, Smith, if someone is placing that much value, and reach, on his or her Facebook profile, they should be aware of what can happen to it after death.  They should know these things before they sign up for Facebook.

6079_Smith_W

I agree on that point, jas.

But that's only part of the central question here, and it doesn't justify what she did.

I certainly hope that anyone who might have a vindictive estranged spouse is paying attention.

Caissa

I think Facebook did the right thing by removing the page.

Unionist

Caissa wrote:

I think Facebook did the right thing by removing the page.

I think Facebook is a private outfit that can do whatever it wants - including remove the profiles of everyone whose name starts with a consonant.

The part of the story that bothers me is a court forcing removal of a profile at the request of a family member. I'd really like to understand the legal basis of the ruling, and I'd like to know whether such a court action would be conceivable in Canada. If anyone has any light to shed on this, I'd appreciate it.

 

Caissa

I'm not a lawyer but I presume and estate could initiate such an action in Canada. How a judge would rule is nyone's guess. Do we have any lawyers left on Babble or did we take Shakespeare's advice?

6079_Smith_W

I'd ask on what grounds? Libel? Misuse of property?

While FB says in their terms that the user owns content, what does that mean? It's not like you can sue them if they cancel your page because you you don't really own the space; you haven't paid them that requisite dollar (and last time I did that with a lawyer she told me that now $5 is a safer nominal fee). Not only is the contract unenforcable by the facebook user, the mother isn't even the user.

The suit in Brazil was over the stress and suffering caused by the page - nothing libelous or inaccurate at all.

Could one of the friends turn around and sue on grounds of property or suffering because words and pictures were destroyed?

Think of the precedent that would set, if anyone could make anyone else stop doing something simply because they said they were offended by it.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This case seems to be about both property rights and torts.  But that is in Canadian terms.  I doubt if we have any Brazilian law experts on babble and I certainly would not presume that the laws in those area bear much resemblance to Canada's.  In Canada the executor of the estate whether that be from a will or named through the courts would be who I would want to have deal with things like Facebook pages and whether to close them or not. If a living person wants their accounts closed and their page taken down I believe that in Canada they have that right. If we don't have that right it is just another reason not to be on Facebook. A persons estate should inherit that right.

janfromthebruce

I agree with k1951. I have acted of an executor of an estate, and the position is one of executing the will, and if there is no will, it is of settling debts, dispursing the estate.

See Your Duties As Executor

There is nothing in it about virtual realities.

jas

I thought it might have something more to do with dignity and privacy rights of the dead, if not their kin. If a site or account that references but is not owned by the deceased is left up and running and modifiable by others, then it leaves itself open to all kinds of content that may have nothing to do with the deceased or his/her wishes. I would hope that's what it's about anyway.

However, if a site owned by the deceased, such as a web page or site, survives its owner, I would guess that intellectual property rights come into play, and I would hope that it is less easily shut down by an executor or other interested party.

6079_Smith_W

I don't want to repeat myself yet again, but this is not an issue of ownership. And the Brazilian lawsuit had nothing to do with the dead person's wishes or legacy. Thank god the mother didn't use that pretense. It was all about her discomfort.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

jas wrote:

However, if a site owned by the deceased, such as a web page or site, survives its owner, I would guess that intellectual property rights come into play, and I would hope that it is less easily shut down by an executor or other interested party.

In our legal system it is the executor who in effect speaks for the deceased.  Who would you like to have that right instead and what process do you think would be good to deal with such claims?  I am not an expert on wills but I thought the estate gets intellectual property rights subject of course to the testators instructions if any are left in a will.

janfromthebruce

k is right. The named executor of the estate receives that right to act on behalf of the deceased.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

This is Facebook's "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities" or essentially their end user license agreement (EULA).   These are the things that folks never bother to read when signing up for a web service or installing a software programme.

The applicable point in the agreement is:

Quote:
Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
  2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
  3. When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you.  We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.  (To learn more about Platform, including how you can control what information other people may share with applications, read our Data Use Policy and Platform Page.)
  4. When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).

      5. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).

Basically, if you've posted something on Facebook, you grant them the right to use it pretty much any way they feel like.    The only way you can stop them from using it is if you delete it.

So if you don't like Facebook's license agreement, don't agree to it and don't use the service.

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Re. my previous post.    I do not want to lend any legitimacy to the phoney corporate term "intellectual property" so I will add this link which explains why we should not use this term.

jas

janfromthebruce wrote:

k is right. The named executor of the estate receives that right to act on behalf of the deceased.

Right. I was making a assumption that an owner-maintained copyrighted work (e.g., a website or other publication) vs. a copyright one has, by default, given to a third party service provider, would be more protected from interference even by an executor, but maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps it's something that has to be explicitly stated in the will.

jas

Point taken re: the very different legal realities of each kind of IP, but I still find the term useful, or at least aesthetically pleasing, and feel no urgency to discard it. Perhaps because I only use the term generally and am not needing to make specific legal arguments. I suspect it also remains in vogue because of continuing new issues arising from new media.

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