Big tech companies have been getting sued on a regular basis in the past year, with the majority coming from former disgruntled employees or families of terrorism victims.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, whose company has been floundering over the past year, was sued by a former employee for unjustly firing male employees. Scott Ard accused Mayer, along with two other female executives, of systemically favoring female employees over male employees.
“Our performance review process was developed to allow employees at all levels of the company to receive meaningful, regular, and actionable feedback from others,” a Yahoo spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Our performance review process also allows for high performers to engage in increasingly larger opportunities at our company, as well as for low performers to be transitioned out.”
Ard vehemently argued he was often given very positive personal performance reviews.
A former Uber employee sued the ride-sharing company for age discrimination and whistleblower retaliation. He said he was wrongfully fired after he spoke out about Uber illegally deleting data that showed it was intensely tracking people.
“Uber’s lack of security regarding its customer data was resulting in Uber employees being able to track high profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees, including ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, and ex-spouses,” Ward Spangenberg, who worked as a forensic investigator for the ride-sharing service, wrote in a court declaration.
Spangenberg was not the only one who divulged the alleged incriminating specifics–five former Uber security professionals joined him.
Early in January, a past employee filed a lawsuit against Snapchat, according to TechCrunch. Anthony Pompliano, who used to be the head of the company’s growth and user engagement team, accused the company of unjustly firing him after he tried to shed light on the calculated inflation of internal performance metrics.
Pompliano says that the termination of his contract unduly lost him salary, valuable stock options and the confidence of future employers. (RELATED: Company Sues Defectors For Allegedly Taking Inside Secrets To Rival)
Facebook misrepresented metrics by inflating the average viewing time for video advertisements, thus overcharging marketers substantially. (RELATED: Facebook Hiring ‘Third Party’ After Misleading Advertisers Again)
Advertisers, though, have not sued in these cases and were reportedly reimbursed accordingly.
Aside from former employees, tech companies are being hit by relatives of people killed by other people who used their platforms and technology.
The family of a 5-year-old girl killed in a car crash filed a lawsuit against Apple because the driver of the other vehicle was using FaceTime, a live-video streaming app developed by the tech conglomerate.
The grieving family wants Apple to pay for the damages incurred from the accident because they believe it should have developed and installed a “lock-out mechanism” so operators of vehicles cannot use apps like FaceTime while in motion. The plaintiffs referenced a patent Apple filed that somewhat details such technology. But that doesn’t necessarily make Apple culpable or complicit. (RELATED: Apple Has Been Hit With Several Obstacles Over Past Few Months)
Families of victims from the Orlando nightclub shooting reportedly filed a civil suit last month against Twitter, Facebook and Google.
The relatives of the fallen argue that the three web platforms “provided the terrorist group ISIS with accounts they use to spread extremist propaganda, raise funds, and attract new recruits,” which led to its “explosive growth,” reports Fox News.
The lawyer for the three families says the shooter, Omar Mateen, was radicalized by ISIS using the tech companies’ tools, so they should also be held liable.
But several legal experts and lawyers, specifically Eugene Volokh, professor at the UCLA School of Law, told TheDCNF that “those lawsuits are going nowhere” because of laws already on the books.
“The primary obstacle to this suit is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides a safeharbor for an ‘interactive computer service,’ such as Twitter or Facebook,” Josh Blackman, associate professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, told TheDCNF. “Beyond Section 230, the First Amendment serves as a significant barrier.”
A father whose daughter died in the Paris terror attacks filed a legal complaint against Google, Facebook, and Twitter for allegedly empowering ISIS with communication capabilities.
Families of five Palestinian bombing victims sued Facebook in July for $1 billion for the same reason as the mourning families of the Paris attacks and Orlando nightclub shooting.
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