Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg summoned by Bhopal district court
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned by a district court in Madhya Pradesh following a petition filed by a Bhopal based start-up alleging harassment. Additional sessions judge Parth Shankar Mishra has issued the order with directions to send the summons by email after Swapnil Rai who runs a portal thetradebook.org filed a civil lawsuit against the social media giant alleging wrongful conduct. Thetradebook.org is his business networking platform, claims Rai.
Rai has alleged that Facebook had stopped his paid advertisement campaign to promote his ‘thetradebook’ page after running it on the platform for three days. The platform then allegedly issued a legal notice against Rai opposing the title of his portal. The campaign, according to Rai, was run between August 8 to August 14, 2016. A second campaign was scheduled to be run between April 14 to April 21, 2018.
“Second campaign was stopped wrongfully on April 16 for which a payment of Rs 215 was raised by Facebook. In the second ad-campaign there was promotion of the webpage http://www.thetradebook.org containing registered trademark ‘tradefeed.’ They want to remove word ‘BOOK’ from my portal and had been sending legal notices to me causing immense mental stress,” Rai was quoted by TOI as saying.
Facebook has allegedly hired a Noida based law firm and sent Rai a legal notice to withdraw the trademark application.
“The trademark FACEBOOK of our client is inherently distinctive and has been used in priority by our client in India. The word FACEBOOK does not exist in common parlance in India prior to the adoption thereof by our client. Our client was the first to use and popularise the term ‘BOOK’ in connection with social networking services. By virtue of its extensive, continues and popular use, our client owns exclusive rights to the trademark FACEBOOK. Moreover on account of the extensive, worldwide and popular use of the trademark FACEBOOK, no unrelated entity has the right to make use of the identical mark for any goods and services,” the notice reads.
Facebook has been in the eye of the storm for all the wrong reasons lately following the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica is accused of harvesting more than 50 million user profiles on Facebook with the help of academic researcher Aleksandr Kogan, without any consent from users, allegedly playing a role in the 2016 US presidential election, seeing Donald Trump through victory.
Christopher Wylie, a former employee with Cambridge Analytica (CA), recently said that CA worked “extensively” in India and has an office here. While deposing in front of UK lawmakers, Wylie said that CA equated to a group of modern colonisers that don’t care what is legal or what is not unless it gets the job done. Wylie also named Congress as one of the parties that possibly worked with CA. The BJP-led central government, following the revelations, has said it would summon Facebook CEO Zuckerberg to India, to make his case, if the need be.
The current case, although not as seemingly high-profile as Cambridge Analytica, goes on to add yet another problem to Facebook’s list. The case also goes on to highlight the monopoly of the social media platform, and the power that it holds over the people who decide to use it. In this case, someone apparently even paid the platform for brand promotion, only to allegedly receive legal notices in return.