SAN FRANCISCO: The US Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal filed by Facebook that would have derailed a $ 15 billion lawsuit over whether it has been tracking users illegally for nearly a decade.
The nation’s Supreme Court has issued an order denying a request by the leading social network to review a California federal court order to allow litigation accusing Facebook of violating wiretapping laws.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
It has argued in court filings that it is a legitimate “party” to exchanges that involve digital content received from software tools such as “like” or “share” buttons linked to other websites.
“Instead of eavesdropping on a separate connection, the connection with Facebook contained premium content intended for Facebook,” the leading social network said in a legal dossier.
The US wiretapping law makes it illegal to intrude on electronic communications unless someone is a party to the exchange.
The lawsuit accuses Facebook of wrongly tracking users away from the social network, then making money from the data by selling it to ad-targeting marketers.
The class action lawsuit amassed more than 20 related lawsuits that were filed in a range of US states in 2011 and early 2012 and is seeking more than $ 15 billion USD on behalf of members of the world’s largest social network.
Facebook has since changed the way it uses software snippets like Like and Share buttons that collect information about users’ online activities.
The Silicon Valley tech giant added that letting the case continue would have “serious and harmful consequences”.
Critics and regulators have frequently targeted Facebook over user privacy.