Zuckerberg Has a Better Day in Court Than Meta Did in the Market


Thursday wasn’t all bad for Mark Zuckerberg.

While Meta Platforms Inc. lost a record $251 billion of value in a single day, a California judge moved to free the company’s chief executive officer from a long-running lawsuit by the makers of a failed app that found pictures of people in bikinis on Facebook.

The app maker Six4Three launched the lawsuit in 2015 to fight Facebook’s decision to cut back on the amount of user information it shared with third-party developers. The case later proved embarrassing to the social media giant when one of Six4Three’s principals turned over internal records to the U.K.’s Parliament which revealed that Facebook’s decision had more to do with protecting profits than users.

In a tentative ruling, Judge Robert Foiles agreed with Zuckerberg’s argument that Facebook, as a publisher, had a constitutional right under the First Amendment to “de-publish” whatever it wanted — in this case vast swaths of user data that the company had initially promised to share with developers like Six4Three, which created the bikini app.

The judge’s ruling applies to five other Facebook executives in addition to Zuckerberg. Facebook itself previously lost a similar request to have the case tossed, but Foiles said he will reconsider the company’s arguments. 

A hearing is set for Friday in San Mateo County Superior Court so that Six4Three can respond to the tentative ruling before the judge makes a final decision. 

The case is Six4Three LLC v. Facebook Inc., CIV53328, California Superior Court, San Mateo County.