Vienna -About 12 000 Facebook members have joined Austrian privacy advocates in suing the US social network over its use of personal data, activist Max Schrems said on Monday.

“We are surprised by the positive feedback,” said Schrems, who had issued a call on Friday to join his lawsuit.

Schrems heads an Austria-based group called Europe vs. Facebook, which has been campaigning against Facebook's use of member data, arguing that its policies are intransparent and run counter to EU law.

The claimants in the class action suit at Vienna's commercial court each seek a symbolical sum of 500 euros (about R7 000).

They are suing Ireland-based Facebook Europe, which handles all members outside North America. - Sapa-dpa