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Lawyers Squeeze $10 Million Out of Facebook

Think about the following scenario: Facebook provides free use of your profile picture to advertisers, without asking you first, simply because you "liked" that company. That is a big privacy no-no and unacceptable use of your profile argued one law firm and felt it has the foundation to sue Facebook.

It sued and scored a settlement. Facebook agreed that it will be changing its terms of use and allow its users to somehow "limit" the use of their images and data. Facebook also agreed to donate $10 million to a charity to calm the outraged souls among us and the law firm is being compensated with up to $10.3 million for its selfless engagement to watch over people's rights. You, the user, whose privacy may have been violated, get zilch. Not even an apology from Facebook - or a thank you from the law firm.

Even worse, Facebook does not stop using profile pictures in ads and does not define how the usage will be limited. With the exception of a note in the terms of use, which Facebook users do not read, and possibly a checkbox somewhere in the site's privacy settings that most of the 970 million-or-so Facebook users visit as often as the pages of the companies they "like", the benefit of suit can be found in the bank accounts of two law firms. As a result of the settlement, Facebook believes that it will lose out on about of $103 million over a period of two years.