French Consumer Group Sues U.S. Social Networks

U.S. social networks are once again under fire, this time from French consumer rights group UFC-Que Choisir. The group has filed a lawsuit in the Paris high court because it views some of the business practices used by Twitter, Facebook, and Google as EUabusiveEU and EUillegal.EU

UFC-Que ChoisirEUs primary complaint is that all three of the social networks have convoluted terms of use agreements and despite requests to change the documents and limit the collection of user data, none of the networks are budging.

With the help of YouTube videos and a news release, UFC-Que Choisir -- otherwise known as the Federal Union of Consumers -- tries to explain why the terms of use policies at the social networks are not fair to consumers. The organization said that it put the companies on notice in June 2013 but even now, the EUconditions are still inaccessible, unreadable, filled with hyperlinks -- between 40 and 100 hypertext links -- sometimes referring to pages in English.EU

Personal Control

The inability of consumers to truly have control of their data once it is placed in the hands of social networks concerns UFC-Que Choisir, which cited a recent survey indicating the difficulty people have managing their information. According to that survey, protection of personal data is a major concern for 85 percent of French citizens, yet only 24 percent of those surveyed were able to completely erase their online personal data.

Not only are people unable to tell what they are agreeing when they create accounts on the social networks, but their data is also exploited, according to UFC-Que Choisir. EUWorse, the networks persist in [authorizing] the widespread collection, modification, preservation and use of the data of users and even of those around them," the organization said.

By bringing these complaints to the French judicial system, the...

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