I vant to be alone � on Facebook!

The SE Texas Record Aug. 29, 2009, 12:10pm

If she were alive today, Greta Garbo would not have a Facebook account. When she said she "vanted' to be alone, she meant it.

Facebook users are not hermits or undercover agents. They don't want to be alone. They want to join the madding crowd, to be seen and heard. They want to mingle and socialize. They want to make new friends and keep in touch with old ones. To varying degrees, they want to be on exhibit on the site.

As reported recently, multi-millionaire Houston attorney Mark Lanier has filed suit against Facebook in California alleging the social networking site has violated the privacy of users who voluntarily signed up to share personal information about themselves.

They posted pictures, personal comments, links to things they like, and the results of silly quizzes.

Then, to their horror, other Facebook users looked at their posts and made them feel violated. Every time they made a new post and someone looked at it, they felt violated all over again. Something had to be done to protect these poor victims of self-exposure.

Mark Lanier, champion of jackpot justice, to the rescue!

Seeking unspecified damages, and attorney's fees, Lanier alleges in a 41-page complaint that Facebook's proprietors "either knew, recklessly disregarded, reasonably should have known or were obligated under the law to understand that their systemic personal and private data collection, harvesting, manipulation, distribution, and commercialization activities violated state consumer protection, privacy, and right of publicity laws."

In other words, Facebook is accused of providing the very services that have attracted their users and made the site so popular.

Following that logic to the extreme, one could argue that a flasher's privacy is violated when he exposes himself. Should he sue the victim or the coat manufacturer that provided the medium? A question Mr. Lanier might consider.

Mark Lanier has won some multimillion-dollar settlements in dubious lawsuits against deep-pocket defendants--at least one of which was overturned.

He's at it again – and you can post that on Facebook.

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