In a sign that Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about the risk of identity theft, separate lawsuits alleging privacy violations have been filed against Facebook.
Media industry website MediaPost.com reported this week that two suits were filed against the social networking site in federal district court in San Jose, California. The plaintiffs allege that Facebook "violated the privacy rights of [site] members … misappropriated their personal information and converted that information for commercial use by means of materially deceptive conduct."
While Facebook enables privacy controls for its users, the complainants in the two suits claim that the site's privacy settings are confusing and misleading. Easily accessible personal information, they say, can expose Facebook users to "identity theft, harassment, embarrassment, intrusion and all types of cybercrime."
Facebook has been the target of privacy-violation allegations before. Some users have opted to leave the site entirely rather than permit their personal information to be co-opted.
But despite concerns about information security, the site's growth has been meteoric. According to comScore, the site became the No. 1 social-media platform in May of last year. More than 100 million American users visited Facebook in December 2009.