August 5th, 2014, 19:38 PM
Facebook privacy class action lawsuit attracts 17,000 supporters
More than 17,000 people have signed up to a class action suit against Facebook, launched by Austrian law student Max Schrems.
On 1 August, Schrems asked Facebook users to join his claim, filed at Vienna's commercial court, which urges Facebook to implement privacy changes and pay out damages to users. By Monday 4 August, 5,000 people had signed up and a day later that number has rocketed to 17,000.
Schrems, a member and spokesman for the Europe vs Facebook group, is a long-term opponent of the social network, and has regularly complained about its privacy policies.
Now, he and the group are making a fresh push against the firm, and are trying to gain as much backing as possible.
Schrems said in a statement: "Our aim is to make Facebook finally operate lawfully in the area of data protection. Each additional participant also increases the pressure on Facebook."
Damages are set at €500 for each claimant, which Schrems said would soon add up. "We are only claiming a small amount, as our primary objective is to ensure correct data protection. However, if many thousands of people participate we would reach an amount that will have a serious impact on Facebook," he added.
With 17,000 supporters, the claim could add up to €8.5m for Facebook. We asked Facebook to comment on the lawsuit, but it has declined.