Facebook sued over product endorsements by minors

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Another day, another Facebook lawsuit: now, the father of a New York teenager is suing the social networking site over its use of endorsements from children in Social Ads.

Clicking the 'like' button on an ad means the user's name and photo are displayed to any friends that visit the page, as well as on friends' news feeds.

And while it's possible for users to prevent the information being displayed in the news feeds via their privacy settings, they can't turn off the display in the ad itself.

Scott Nastro is citing the New York Civil Rights Law, which prohibits the use of a person’s picture for advertising purposes without their permission, and says that in the case of minors Facebook should be asking parents or guardians.

"In the course of using the names and likenesses of Facebook members in advertising, Facebook regularly and frequently includes the names and likenesses of minors without obtaining consent for that use," reads the complaint.

"Children are a large marketing audience, so that endorsements that include the names and likenesses of other children in advertisements and solicitations generate a great increase in the revenue and profits to Facebook."

It adds: "Facebook, Inc. appears to be continually seeking new ways to use the names and likenesses of its members, including children, for its own marketing purposes."

The case is being brought as a class action, which could potentially include any minor who has 'liked' an advertisement. Nastro's seeking a cut of Facebook's presumed profits from the ads.