Crime & Lawsuits

Social Network Sequel with Facebook’s New Lawsuits?


Most people are familiar with the lawsuit at the center of the 2010 hit movie “The Social Network,” which alleged that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea for the site from the Winklevoss twins while at Harvard.

However, that’s not the only legal trouble that Facebook owners have faced in the courtroom. Who knows, maybe one of the following lawsuits will be at the center of its own blockbuster.

Wood Pellet Salesman Claims Facebook was his Idea

Paul Ceglia claims that a 2003 work-for-hire contract with Zuckerberg entitled him to an 84 percent stake in the social networking site, according to the New York Times.

The news source reports that people were initially skeptical of the wood pellet salesman’s claims, but recently filed court papers appear to show emails between Ceglia and Zuckerberg that could be damning, if they prove to be authentic.

“It is a little harder to dismiss him out of hand,” said Scott C. Dettmer, an experienced Silicon Valley attorney.

However, the Zuckerberg camp claimed that the emails were nothing but forgeries.

“This man is a convicted felon with a history of fraud charges,” Orin Snyder, a lawyer with the firm representing Facebook, told the news provider. “His revised complaint is simply his latest scam — supported by a doctored contract and fake e-mails.”

Lawsuit Claims Facebook Invaded Privacy

A district judge in California recently threw out five of the eight claims in a lawsuit that alleged Facebook had given away user personal information to advertisers.

However, U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled that the social networking site must face the lawsuit, reports the News-Journal.

The plaintiffs in the case allege that advertisers can find out users’ gender and user name, among other information, if their advertisements are clicked on.

“The court finds that plaintiffs have alleged facts sufficient to establish that they have suffered the injury required for standing,” the judge wrote.

Suit Alleges Facebook Used Minors as Advertisers Without Permission

According to Bloomberg, plaintiffs in New York alleged that Facebook did not obtain parental permission to display the fact that minors “liked” some products advertised on the site.

The site displays the name and pictures of a user’s Facebook friends when they “like” an ad, according to the lawsuit.

“Users can prevent their endorsements from being shared with their friends by limiting who can see their posts through their privacy settings,” the lawsuit states. “There is, however, no mechanism in place by which a user can prevent their name and likeness from appearing on a Facebook page if they have ‘liked’ it.”

Winklevoss Twins Sued

While these other suits may make for good movies, perhaps the best lawsuit for a sequel to “The Social Network” would be a twist on the first, with Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss being sued.

Fox News reports that the lawsuit brought by Wayne Chang against the brothers can proceed. The suit claims that Chang developed a peer-to-peer file sharing network while working with the twins. It is then alleged that the Winklevosses excluded him from a patent filing for the technology, according to the news source.

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