Facebook lawyer argues you should have ‘no expectation of privacy’

One month ago, Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage of Facebook’s F8 developer conference to tell the world that he was committed to turning the company around and making it more privacy-focused.

Mark Zuckerberg says "the future is private" for Facebook users

The audience don’t seem to find him quite as funny as he hoped.

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Anyway, you can imagine my surprise when I read that Facebook’s legal team have been actually arguing – in response to a class action regarding the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal – that users of social media should have “no expectation of privacy”.

As Law360 reports:

In response to a class action claiming the Cambridge Analytica breach violated users’ privacy rights, Facebook is arguing that there is “no expectation of privacy” on Facebook. “There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy.”

Facebook didn’t deny that users’ data was exposed to third parties. Instead, it focused on trying to convince Judge Chhabria that there is “no expectation of privacy” on Facebook or any other social media platform.

“You have to closely guard something to have a reasonable expectation of privacy,” argued Facebook counsel Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, who added that Facebook and social media in general are premised on rendering one’s views non-private.

“It’s the opposite of private,” Snyder said.

Judge Chhabria, who said he was not on Facebook, pressed Facebook on that assertion. The judge said it appears to contradict Facebook’s and its executives’ own claims that they are working to protect users’ privacy and data.

But Snyder said users consented to the sharing of their information. “There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy,” he argued.

So, next time someone connected to Facebook tries to convince you that it’s now really serious about privacy you know they’re pulling your leg.

Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2019
Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2019

If you’re thinking of leaving Facebook, why not listen to this “Smashing Security” podcast we recorded:

Smashing Security #75: 'Quitting Facebook'

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Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

4 comments on “Facebook lawyer argues you should have ‘no expectation of privacy’”

  1. Ben

    .. is this speech inspired by "The Bourne Ultimatum" movie? ;))

    M.Z is so "funny", it's not like his business model wasn't solely depending on user's private informations..
    how could we buy such lies???..well, I'm definitely not buying , I would rather cut and cook my right hand..

  2. Darren Bindert

    Interesting post, i always found it quite amusing how they can make such statements on privacy! there are a few ways to minimise how Facebook can collect and share your data. Check what apps are linked to your account, use facebook in a private browsing mode, log out when not using it, use tracker blockers and opt out of API sharing.

  3. Spryte

    Great podcast. Lots of useful info but here I was thinking you had already left fb!
    Facebook is so easy to leave, I've done it hundreds of times ;). Actually only once but came back mostly due to friends overseas and relatives at some distance away.

    How did you find Mastodon? That's where I thought you'd moved to… but you say twitter.

    As for deletion I believe their Retention Policy is "Until H… Freezes Over". I believe they will remove your profile from public view, but not one byte of anyone's data.

    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to Spryte

      Mastodon's great! You can find me there at https://infosec.exchange/@gcluley

      I'm still maintaining my Twitter account though: @gcluley

      And I continue to very happily not be a Facebook user. :)

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