Facebook to Pay $10 Million to Settle Suit

Facebook agreed to pay $10 million to charity to settle a lawsuit that accused the site of violating users’ rights to control the use of their own information.

The lawsuit, filed by five Facebook members, reads that Facebook violated California law by publicizing users' "likes" of certain advertisers on its "Sponsored Stories" feature without asking them or compensating them. Photo: West McGowan/Flickr

A “Sponsored Story” is an ad that appears on a member’s Facebook page and consists of another friend’s name, profile picture and an assertion that the person “likes” the advertiser.

Although the settlement was reached in May, it became public this weekend. The social networking giant declined to comment on Saturday.

In the lawsuit, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that a trusted referral was the “Holy Grail” of advertising, reports Reuters.

Besides, the court document cited comments from Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, explaining that the value of a “Sponsored Story” advertisement was at least twice and up to three times the value of a standard Facebook.com ad without a friend endorsement.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh rebealed the plaintiffs had shown economic injury could occur through Facebook’s use of their personal information.

“California has long recognized a right to protect one’s name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage,” Koh said. The settlement arrangement is also known as a cy-pres settlement, meaning the settlement funds can go to charity.

Among other news considering the social network, Bret Taylor, who has been the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Facebook since August of 2009, announced on Friday his decision to leave the company.

Taylor, was responsible for Facebook’s platform and mobile endeavors and the CEO of the social network website FriendFeed until it was acquired by Facebook nearly three years ago.

“I wanted to let we all know that I’ll be withdrawal Facebook after this summer. I’m unhappy to be leaving, though I’m vehement to be starting a association with my friend Kevin Gibbs,” Taylor wrote on his Facebook wall.

”While a transition like this is never easy, I’m intensely assured in a teams and care we have in place,” he continued. “I had always been upfront with Mark that I eventually wanted to do another start-up. And we felt now is the best time after the IPO and the launch of some recent things for me to do that.”

Taylor told BBC News that he was “sad to be leaving, but I’m excited to be starting a [new] company… While a transition like this is never easy, I’m extremely confident in the teams and leadership we have in place.”

“I’m unequivocally unapproachable of a new accomplishments in a height and mobile products, from Open Graph and App Center to Facebook Camera and a iOS integration. I’m even some-more vehement for a universe to see all a extraordinary things these teams have coming.”

Besides, in his post, Taylor called Mark Zuckerberg a coach and one of his closest friends.

Zuckerberg, in his turn, said of taylor: “I’ve unequivocally enjoyed operative with Bret and removing to know him as a crony and teammate. I’m beholden for all he has finished for Facebook and I’m unapproachable of what he and his teams have built.”

He went on: “I’m also unapproachable that we have a enlightenment where good entrepreneurs like Bret join us and have such a large impact.”

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