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Facebook User Sues Zynga Over Privacy Breach

In a press release distributed on Wednesday, class action firm Edelson McGuire LLC said that a lawsuit has been filed against FarmVille developer Zynga in regards to the supposed privacy breach originally reported on Monday by the Wall Street Journal.

The lawsuit follows Tuesday's report that two House members--U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (D., Mass.) and Joe Barton (R., Texas)--sent Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg a letter requesting additional information on how third-party applications collect user data.

According to Wednesday's class action lawsuit, Zynga allegedly collected the Facebook data of its 218 million users and shared it with advertisers and data brokers in violation of federal law and Zynga's contract with Facebook. The class action seeks monetary relief for those whose data was wrongly shared, and injunctive relief to prevent continued privacy abuses.

"This appears to be another example of an online company failing the American public with empty promises to respect individual privacy rights," explained Michael Aschenbrener of Edelson McGuire LLC, co-lead attorney for the class action.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco, California on behalf of Nancy Gref of St. Paul, Minnesota. The firm has also filed another case against Facebook that alleges massive privacy violations.

"Companies large and small need to learn to follow through on their privacy promises or risk having consumers decide that it is simply not worth it to use their services," said Kassra Nassiri of Nassiri & Jung LLP, co-lead attorney for the lawsuit.

FarmVille developer Zynga said that it would contest the suit. "We believe that the complaint is without merit and we intend to defend against it vigorously," a Zynga representative said in a statement.

A Facebook spokesperson said on Tuesday that the suggestion of passing user IDs to an application--as described in Facebook's privacy policy--constitutes as a breach was 'curious at best," however the company looked forward to working with the government officials.

Will the user privacy dispute and lawsuits cause a major outbreak of wilted crops in FarmVille? Probably not.