Facebook Inc.’s legal brawl with a maker of a now-defunct app that found pictures of people in bikinis on the social media site is heading back before a judge with Mark Zuckerberg still in the case.
A California appeals panel ruled Monday that a state court judge went too far in dismissing claims against Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, and five executives because a legal brief opposing the move was too long.
“Granting a case-dispositive motion without providing an opportunity to correct the deficiency is an abuse of the court’s discretion,” the appeals panel said.
Six4Three made a Facebook app — Pikinis — that allowed users to find photos their friends had posted of people in bikinis. Six4Three accused Facebook of destroying its business when it cut off its users’ access to the “friends” data.
The legal fight has dragged on for four years, spanning across the Atlantic as Facebook accused Six4Three of breaching a court order to keep documents in the case sealed. Some of those documents, which contained information suggesting Facebook had considered selling access to users’ data, ended up being publicized by a committee of the U.K. Parliament.
The Six4Three complaint over access to the friends’ data comes at a time Facebook is under intense pressure to protect users’ privacy. The Pikini app let people use a feature similar to that which enabled Cambridge Analytica to collect data from tens of millions of Americans, which was used to target voters in the 2016 election.
Zuckerberg and the other Facebook executives asked to be dropped from the suit last year. They argued that their decisions to limit friends data was protected by free speech rights.
Lawyers for Zuckerberg and Facebook didn’t immediately respond after regular business hours to emailed requests for comment.