In case you ever wondered why so many tech companies impose individual arbitrations on their users, this class action lawsuit filed against Facebook should suffice to explain their reasoning:
A new class-action lawsuit has accused Facebook of illegally harvesting biometric data on its subsidiary platform Instagram with a photo-tagging tool that allegedly stores facial recognition data. The lawsuit, filed on Monday in state court in Redwood City, California, accuses the company of collecting, storing and profiting from the biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without their knowledge or consent.
Facebook does not impose arbitration, and its lawyers are obviously a little more up on California law than Patreon’s, as they do not impose an illegitimate waiver of class action litigation. So, there shouldn’t be any procedural impediments to this lawsuit, although Facebook’s lawyers will almost certainly invent as many as they need in order to delay discovery. But Facebook has a near-infinite supply of financial and legal resources, so it can afford to lose even a very large class-action lawsuit without its operations being disrupted.
I have no idea if the litigants have a claim or not; I don’t use Facebook or Instagram. But I do note that the company’s objection – “Instagram doesn’t use Face Recognition technology” – does not even contradict the lawsuit’s primary claim that the company was “collecting, storing and profiting from the biometric data of more than 100 million Instagram users, without their knowledge or consent.”
You’ll note that “face recognition technology” is a small subset of “biometric data”. Facebook’s non-denial denial is not unlike a company saying they weren’t collecting, storing, and profiting from your DNA because they don’t use fingerprint technology.
That’s why it is so interesting that Patreon is so Hell-bent on avoiding arbitration of the claims concerning their deceptive practices and violations of California law. They genuinely seem to believe that they’d be better off facing the class action litigation they specifically imposed individual arbitration to avoid. Or, at least, their outside lawyers would be.