A US court has raised concerns over Facebook's proposed class action lawsuit settlement.
Judge Richard Seeborg called out five problems with the settlement in an eight-page document filed in a Northern California court. The US district judge has urged the social networking site and the case's plaintiffs to modify the settlement to address the issues.
"In this instance there are sufficient questions regarding the proposed settlement that it would not be appropriate simply to grant the motion and postpone resolution of those issues to final approval," wrote Judge Seeborg in his filing.
Last March, five plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook for procedures found in its sponsored stories ads system.
The plaintiffs called out sponsored stories for using user 'likes' as paid advertisements. The plaintiffs' primary argument was that by using user 'likes' in ads Facebook was illegally appropriating an individual's identity for financial gain.
In June, the plaintiffs and Facebook came to a preliminary settlement agreement worth $10m. Judge Seeborg is now arguing that the preliminary settlement isn't enough for the class action suit.
The issues the judge has with the settlement include a lack of monetary relief for class action suit participants, a potentially unfair settlement for plaintiff interests, a lack of defined changes Facebook must accomplish, and whether Facebook will cover plaintiff attorney fees.
The settlement doesn't offer monetary relief for class action participants. If the case did, Facebook could be forced to pay upwards of $1bn to users affected by sponsored stories ads.
Currently, the settlement calls for Facebook to pay $10m to internet privacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This part of the settlement falls under a 'cy pres' statute, which calls for payments to be made to plaintiffs' interests.
Seeborg wants to see justification for why $10m is a fair figure for 'cy pres' damages.
Seeborg also wants to see a clear plan of action from Facebook so that sponsored stories don't encroach on user rights again. The company has yet to detail a clear course for avoiding future litigation.
Facebook continues to feel the settlement is fair and hopes to get the opportunity to answer any questions Judge Seeborg may have.
"We continue to believe the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. We appreciate the court's guidance and look forward to addressing the questions raised in the order," a Facebook spokesperson told V3.
"We are confident we can address the issues raised by the court without substantially revising the settlement."
US space agency believes the crater could have preserved ancient organic molecules from the water that flowed there billions of years ago
Valve quietly closes down hardware initiatives launched following Windows 8
Scientists create a virtual reality simulation of a black hole sitting at the centre of the Milky Way
Simulations like this can help people understand complicated systems in the universe in a better way
The most luminous galaxy ever discovered is cannibalising at least three of its smaller neighbours, study finds
The galaxy radiates at 350 trillion times the luminosity of the Sun