A US federal judge has ruled that Facebook will have to face a class action suit over allegations of violating users’ privacy.
Judge James Donato ruled on Monday the claims by Illinois residents Nimesh Patel, Adam Pezen, and Carlo Licata were "sufficiently cohesive to allow for a fair and efficient resolution on a class basis.”
"Consequently, the case will proceed with a class consisting of Facebook users located in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011," he said, according to AFP.
The ruling comes as Facebook is implicated in a scandal over the mishandling of over the mishandling of 87 million users' data ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.
Most of the up to 87 million people whose data was shared with Cambridge Analytica were in the United States, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer wrote in a blog post.
There are claims that the social networking site violated users’ privacy by using a facial recognition tool on their photos without their explicit consent.
"When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you're logged out or don't have a Facebook account," product management director David Baser said in a post on the social network's blog.
Meanwhile, Facebook has acknowledged that it collects information from users beyond what they share on their profiles.
The company says when users visit a site or application that uses Facebook’s services, the Facebook team receives information even if users are logged out or do not have a Facebook account.
The social network also says many websites and apps use Facebook services to target content and advertisements.
Earlier, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call with reporters that he accepted blame for the data leak, while also saying he was still the right person to head the company he founded.
Facebook, the world's largest social media company with more than 2 billion monthly active users, made almost all its $40 billion in revenue last year from advertising.
One reason Facebook and other internet companies collect personal information from users is to deliver targeted advertising.
The data leak scandal has prompted investigations by the US Federal Trade Commission, Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office and by some 37 US states.