November 06, 2019

U.S. District Judge William Alsup slammed Facebook on Wednesday for allowing millions of users’ personal data to be stolen, asking the social media giant why he shouldn’t certify a proposed class action by users and musing aloud about embedding a data breach monitor inside Facebook.

“Consumers have got to have a remedy against the Facebooks of the world,” said Judge Alsup, who himself had personal data stolen in an unrelated 2015 data breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Judge Alsup scolded Facebook for assuring the public that it is working hard to protect users’ data, but “then when you don’t, you say it doesn’t matter anyway.”

The judge also looked ahead Wednesday at possible remedies in the case, pondering whether he had the authority to embed a monitor at Facebook to protect against future data breaches.

“Facebook would probably hate that,” Judge Alsup said.

The proposed class, which would include all Facebook users who had personally identifiable information compromised in the data breach announced by Facebook on Sept. 28, 2018, says the company should at the very least pay for credit monitoring services for victims.

Facebook users say the breach occurred as a result of the company’s inadequate security measures. Facebook disclosed that a vulnerability in the code of its "View As" feature — which lets users see how their profiles appear to the public or friends — let hackers access tens of millions of accounts.

. . .

The users are represented by Milberg Tadler Phillips Grossman LLP and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.