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Way is paved for class action litigation against Facebook

The Supreme Court of Canada has given the green light to for a lawsuit to proceed against a major social media site alleging that it violated user privacy. Now, Facebook Inc. has to defend itself in a class action litigation in a British Columbia court. Canada's highest court of law recently voted 4-3 in favour of a British Columbia female resident's legal fight against Facebook claiming the site used her name and likeness in a "sponsored story" ad without her consent.

This is a landmark ruling since Facebook rules stipulate that all disputes against them be filed only in California courts. The claimant took the social site to task pointing out the Privacy Act requires the British Columbia Supreme Court to hear cases related to the act. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the claimant's favour after an initial ruling by the B.C. appeals court said that her suit against Facebook should, indeed, be heard in California. This ruling paves the way for other Canadians, including those living in Ontario, to proceed with class action litigation against the social media site.

The Supreme Court of Canada said Facebook's forum selection clause didn't go far enough when outlining what is involved in a contract between a consumer and a large corporation, among other things. The court also took into consideration the importance of social media in participating in a democracy and the fact that consumers don't have the ability to negotiate the agreement. In other words, users have no choice but to accept terms of use.

When users feel their right to privacy has been infringed upon by a large corporation, speaking to a lawyer experienced in class action litigation is the first option they should pursue. Ontario residents who believe their privacy rights have been violated -- even by an international company -- should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. As in this claimant's case against Facebook, a well-versed lawyer will instruct a client on how best to proceed. 

Source: IT World Canada News, "Supreme Court of Canada clears way for Facebook class action to be heard in B.C.", Brian Jackson, Accessed on July 7, 2017

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