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

Graham Cluley

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.


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

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 Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

2 Replies to “Facebook lawyer argues you should have ‘no expectation of privacy’”

  1. .. 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. 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.

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