The latest Facebook-related lawsuit, filed by a user whose account Facebook canceled in part because she harassed other users, underscores that a social networking site’s online policy (as enumerated in its User Statement of Rights and Responsibilities) does not create an affirmative obligation to the user. See, Young v. Facebook, 2010 WL 4269304 (N.D. Cal. October 25, 2010).
As part of several claims, the terminated user argued breach of contract, alleging that she was, herself, harassed by several Facebook users after voicing disapproval of a Facebook page critical of the President. The terminated user alleged that Facebook failed to honor its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities by failing to take action against the other alleged harassers.
As part of its dismissal, the Northern District of California held that, while a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities can place restrictions on a user’s activity, unlike a traditional contract, it does not create any affirmative responsibilities to users on the part of the social network.
Note: The Court also dismissed plaintiff’s First and Fourteenth amendment claims for violation of plaintiff’s right to free speech, finding that Facebook’s conduct was not fairly attributable to the government.
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