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B.C. court allows class-action lawsuit against Facebook to expand

A class-action lawsuit launched against Facebook by a British Columbia woman is allowed to include to residents of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador who claim their images were used without their knowledge.

Deborah Douez claims the social media giant used her image and those of others without their knowledge in the “sponsored stories” advertising program that is no longer in operation.

Facebook Inc. fought the certification of the class action all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and lost and now a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that Douez can expand the certification to include residents of other provinces who were unknowingly featured in the promotion.

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Justice Nitya Iyer also agreed with Douez that Facebook is obligated to pay any profits that it made from the unauthorized use of the class members’ names or portraits.

If someone liked a product under the program, which ran from January 2011 to May 2014, Facebook generated a news feed endorsement using the person’s name and profile photo, but didn’t tell that person their image was being used.

In a ruling issued Monday, Iyer said if the plaintiffs were asking for damages, she would agree with Facebook that the change should be denied, but she notes that giving up the profit made is a remedy under privacy laws in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.



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