Facebook’s previously won privacy breach lawsuit is live again thanks to appeal

The U.S. Court of Appeals in California has overturned a decision regarding Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) users’ claims that the company had defrauded them by distributing information about their online activities, in breach of its user agreement. Facebook had previously won this legal battle, but with the appeal courts decision, the claim is alive again. The court did agree, however, that Facebook had not violated any privacy laws.

Class action law suits over privacy and the use of personal information have been coming thick and fast recently. Most of the major online companies such as Google and Zynga, have been under attack for various alleged breaches of confidentiality, and privacy. Zynga was named in the same lawsuit as Facebook, whereas Google has been defending suits over its Street View cars, and Gmail data collection practices.

Insubordinate man with zipped mouthFacebook has been trying to get its user agreement in line with consumer expectations, and most of the breaches contained in the suit, apply to older versions of the agreement. It has also settled with the Federal Trade commission following complaint it was failing to guard its user’s privacy. Under the terms of the settlement, Facebook is prevented from making inaccurate or misleading claims about its privacy procedures. In addition, it also agreed to have an independent review of its practices.

Despite these changes, the ruling will allow the users complaint to go forward. The main focus of the users’ complaint is that Facebook released their confidential information to advertisers, when they clicked on their ads, in direct contradiction to the terms of the user agreement, that their information would not be disseminated. Despite the favorable ruling, this battle over confidentiality is far from over.