Legal Newsline

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Class action says Facebook falsely used users' likenesses to endorse pages

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 22, 2014


SAN JOSE, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - A class action lawsuit has been filed against Facebook after the plaintiffs claim it falsely used their likenesses to endorse certain pages.

Anthony DiTirro, Katya Bresler and Michelle Shumate claim Facebook falsely said that they had "liked" certain pages, which they had not done, according to a complaint originally filed Jan. 9 and amended on Jan. 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California at San Jose.

DiTirro claims in November, he received notification from one of his Facebook friends that he was featured on Facebook "liking" USA Today in a Facebook-sponsored advertisement. DiTirro claims while he has nothing negative to say about USA Today, he is not an avid reader of it, has never been to its website and never clicked the "Like" button for it.

Facebook knowingly used DiTirro's likeness and Facebook profile to advertise to the general public that he endorsed USA Today without his permission, according to the suit.

Bresler and Shumate claim similar incidents happened to them with Duracell and Kohl's, respectively.

The plaintiffs and the members of the class have all suffered irreparable harm and damages as a result of Facebook's unlawful and wrongful conduct, according to the suit.

Facebook knowingly used and is continuing to use the plaintiffs' names and Facebook photos for its advantage, all without their prior consent, the complaint states.

The plaintiffs claim Facebook acted with negligence, oppression, fraud and malice; engaged in despicable conduct with a willful and conscious disregard of the plaintiffs' rights; and deprived them of their property and legal rights.

Facebook's actions were an invasion of privacy and placed the plaintiffs in a false light in the public eye, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking for damages in the amount of $750 or greater or the actual damages suffered and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Abbas Kazerounian and Jason A. Ibey of the Kazerouni Law Firm and Todd Michael Friedman.

In December, a class action lawsuit was filed against Facebook after users claimed their Facebook private messages weren't actually private. The users claimed Facebook was using data from private messages to generate targeted advertisements.

In 2010, a class action lawsuit was filed against Facebook, Blockbuster, Fandango, Hotwire, STA Travel,, and GameFly regarding internet privacy and social media.

Sean Lane, who purchased what was intended to be a surprise diamond ring for his wife from, was, without his knowledge, broadcast to hundreds of people on his Facebook, including his wife.

Lane claimed the Beacon feature on Facebook was opt-out and in order to disable to feature, one had to understand the privacy controls on Facebook, as well as all of its 40+ affiliate sites.

Facebook ended up terminating the Beacon program and created a $9.5 million fund for privacy and security.

Kazerouni Law Firm has represented plaintiffs in a number of big-name class actions in the past.

In 2012, the firm represented borrowers who filed suit against Sallie Mae for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. A Washington, D.C., federal judge approved a $24 million settlement in the suit.

In 2011, the firm represented a driver of a Honda Accord who was left in a persistent vegetative state as a result of injuries allegedly sustained when her vehicle experienced directional control problems, left the roadway and rolled over, causing the roof to collapse. The Los Angeles County Superior Court approved a $2.5 million settlement.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California at San Jose case number: 5:14-cv-00132

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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