Facebook Inc (FB) is getting sued for ‘manipulating’ a user profile

Posted Jan 10, 2014

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is getting sued for allegedly manipulating a user’s profile. Anthony DiTirro, a resident of Colorado, is suing the social network for allegedly misrepresenting to his friends that he “liked” USA Today. DiTirro claims that he never hit the “Like” button to show his approval of USA Today.

?Although plaintiff has nothing negative to say about USA Today newspapers, plaintiff is not an avid reader of USA Today, nor does plaintiff endorse the newspaper,? states the complaint.

DiTirro said that he learned about the “Like” from a friend. DiTirro said that one of his friends told him that his name was used in a sponsored ad on the social network. DiTirro is seeking class-action status in the complaint that was filed on Thursday at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif.

DiTirro wrote in the lawsuit that Facebook ?intentionally manipulated plaintiff’s Facebook profile to give the general public, and specifically Plaintiff’s Facebook friends, the false impression that plaintiff liked or endorsed USA Today.?

DiTirro claims that Facebook violated several California laws, including false advertising and the misappropriation of his name and image.

Facebook believes that this complaint is without merit and they will defend themselves.

Facebook recently paid $20 million to settle a class-action lawsuit about their sponsored stories program, but this case did not involve allegations of misrepresentations or whether a user “like” an advertiser. This issue dealt with allegations that the company did not obtain consent to user names and photos in ads.

If DiTirro’s allegations are true, then it is unclear why Facebook used his name and photo in the ad. It could be that there was a glitch in the system. There is also a possibility that DiTirro liked “USA Today” without knowing. However DiTirro’s lawyer said that other Facebook users came forward to say that their names were used in ads even though they did not “like” the advertiser.