Supreme Court declines Facebook bid to shut down lawsuit

Big Tech’s ongoing encroachment into virtually every aspect of American life was dealt a blow on Monday, as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from social media behemoth Facebook.

According to The Hill, the justices rejected the Mark Zuckerberg-led company’s bid for the high court to intervene in class action litigation accusing Facebook of unlawfully tracking users’ online activity occurring even when they were not engaging with the platform itself.

The $15 billion lawsuit argues that Facebook violated the federal Wiretap Act by surreptitiously – and without consent – tracking user movements on websites that utilize Facebook functions including its “like” feature, as the Washington Examiner noted.

According to the suit filed by four California plaintiffs, actions taken by Facebook between April of 2010 and September of the following year included illegal use of cookies and plug-ins to aggregate user data that was then sold to advertisers, Reuters reported.

To Facebook’s frustration, the justices rejected a 2020 appeal of a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that revived the class action lawsuit, a decision in which the presiding judges explained:

Facebook’s user profiles would allegedly reveal an individual’s likes, dislikes, interests and habits over a significant amount of time, without affording users a meaningful opportunity to control or prevent the unauthorized exploration of their private lives.

Of note is the fact that Facebook’s practice of tracking user movement without their consent halted in 2011 once it was made public, according to documents in the case.

Those concerned about the ubiquitous nature of social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter will surely be pleased with this outcome, yet the overlap between these firms and the political left remains troubling indeed, particularly in light of the platforms’ sweeping moves back in January to deplatform conservatives including then-President Donald Trump, actions on which the New York Post reported at the time.

The influx of senior leaders from Big Tech firms into new roles within the Biden administration earlier this year has led to growing concern about government-sanctioned surveillance and censorship resulting from their increased access and potential influence over policymakers, including the president himself, as the Post noted.

Frequently at highly-publicized odds with tech giants throughout his presidency, Trump is reportedly planning a splashy and defiant return to the world of social media by launching his own platform, which, according to senior adviser Jason Miller, will “completely redefine the game.”