A federal district court in San Jose, California, dismissed a privacy lawsuit against Facebook on Friday, with U.S. District Judge Edward Davila ruling that the Menlo Park-based social media giant did not violate California's wiretapping laws and privacy regulations by tracking browsing habits of users who deleted their Facebook accounts. Davila made an identical conclusion in regards to any possible transgressions of federal privacy laws, noting that the plaintiffs didn't make a convincing case when claiming that Facebook violated their online privacy. The lawsuit was originally filed in early 2012 and was already partially dismissed in late 2015 by the same judge, before being thrown out again in its somewhat revised state last week.
Davila still said that the lawsuit could be revised and refiled in regards to any potential breach of contract on Facebook's part, though it remains to be seen whether the litigation ends up continuing, with both of the involved parties not commenting on the matter in any capacity as of this writing. Facebook was initially accused of violating the privacy of its users by keeping track of their online activities through browser cookies that remained active even after someone deleted their Facebook account. Browsers with those cookies are then trackable across all websites that feature Facebook's Like buttons, which Davila ruled isn't a violation of any privacy or wiretapping law. The judge also said that the plaintiffs failed to prove that the social media company actually intercepted their communications, noting that everyone involved could have easily protected their online privacy if they chose to do so. Finally, Davila concluded that no "realistic" loss or damages of any nature have been incurred as a result of Facebook's supposed violations.
The latest turn of events represents a major legal victory for Facebook that will set a precedent and likely discourage similar cookie-related tracking lawsuits from being filed against the company. The firm's practices are all generally laid out in its terms of service, which likely lead to its win in this case, with Davila concluding that the plaintiffs had no reasonable expectation of privacy when agreeing to start using the service. Facebook recently passed two billion users and continues to grow at a steady pace, with the company now putting a larger focus on building online communities instead of just connecting individuals.