(Last Updated On: July 27, 2020)

A lawsuit has been filed by Office 365 customers against Microsoft because of data that had supposedly been shared with Facebook and other third parties without consent.

Microsoft has been accused of breaking its promise of not spreading its customer data to third parties and sharing information with subcontractors only when it is needed.

Frank Russo, Koonan Litigation Consulting and Sumner Davenport & Associates are the complainants in this case and they say that Microsoft has supplied hundreds of subcontractors with customer data without due cause, which might have gone through some data breaches.

It also says that Microsoft uses customer emails, documents, calendars, location data and more to notify the expansion of products, in a way that infringes that US Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act and consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit aims mainly on data that apparently was shared with Facebook, without Office 365 customers knowing. The complaint says that the way the data had automatically been shared meant customers will not be able to protect their privacy.

“Contrary to its representations, Microsoft has regularly shared – and continues to share – its business customers’ data with Facebook and other third parties. The data is shared even when neither the customers nor their contacts are Facebook users,” the court filing said. 

“Even if a customer discovers and disables this Facebook-sharing ‘feature’ after activating Office 365 or Exchange Online services, the damage has already been done.”

The filing also says that once it has been sent, the information cannot be deleted by anyone but Facebook might also be used by any firms to choose to partner up with.  

Microsoft has been fighting these claims but they seem to be unclear. 

“We’re aware of the suit and will review it carefully. However, while the allegations themselves are not very specific, as we understand them we don’t believe they have merit,” the company said.

“We have an established history of both robust privacy protections and transparency, and we’re confident that our use of customer data is consistent with the instructions of our customers and our contractual commitments.”

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