Facebook Game Developer Sued for Privacy Flap

Zynga, the developer of FarmVille and other Facebook games, is being sued and accused of privacy violations.

A developer of some of Facebook's most popular games has been hit with a class action lawsuit about allegations that its applications were leaking user data.

Zynga makes some of Facebook's top games, including FarmVille and Mafia Wars. In a federal lawsuit, Minnesota resident Nancy Graf accused Zynga of sharing the data of 218 million users with advertisers in violation of both federal law and its contract with Facebook. The lawsuit is seeking monetary relief for those whose data was wrongly shared and injunctive relief to prevent continued privacy abuses.

"This appears to be another example of an online company failing the American public with empty promises to respect individual privacy rights," said Michael Aschenbrener of Edelson McGuire LLC, co-lead attorney for the class action, in a statement.

The suit follows revelations that Facebook applications were exposing user IDs. The information could be used to look up an application user's Facebook name as well as any information the user has made public, such as the names of Facebook friends.

"Companies large and small need to learn to follow through on their privacy promises or risk having consumers decide that it is simply not worth it to use their services," added Kassra Nassiri of Nassiri & Jung LLP, co-lead attorney for the lawsuit, in a statement.

A representative from Zynga said the company plans to fight the lawsuit.

"We believe that the complaint is without merit, and we intend to defend against it vigorously," a Zynga spokesperson told eWEEK.