Facebook is reading your private messages, new lawsuit alleges

"Contrary to its representations, 'private' Facebook messages are systematically intercepted by the company"

Topics: the daily dot, Facebook, Privacy, Facebook Private Messages, The Internet, Big Data,

Facebook is reading your private messages, new lawsuit allegesFacebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Credit: AP/Jeff Chiu)
This article originally appeared on The Daily Dot.

The Daily DotIt turns out your private messages on Facebook aren’t so private after all. And that means more legal trouble for the world’s largest social network.

The company is being sued by a pair of users who allege Facebook scans private messages for links and sells the information to third-party marketing firms and advertisers without consent.

“Contrary to its representations, ‘private’ Facebook messages are systematically intercepted by the company in an effort to learn the contents of the users’ communications,” reads a complaint filed by Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley this week in the northern California U.S. District Court. “This practice is not done to facilitate the transmission of users’ communications via Facebook, but because it enables Facebook to mine user data and profit from those data by sharing them with third parties—namely, advertisers, marketers, and other data aggregators.”

According to Media Post, the lawsuit stems from 2012 revelations that Facebook scans private messages for links to outside sites that are then used to tabulate the total number of likes for a particular brand or page.

At the time of these initial allegations, Facebook confirmed that their Like counter includes the “number of times people have shared that page’s link on Facebook,” but told the the Wall Street Journal that “absolutely no private information has been exposed.”

But that’s not good enough for the plaintiffs in this case, who allege Facebook has not adequately informed users about these private message scans.



“Facebook misleads users into believing that they have a secure, private mechanism for communication—Facebook’s private messaging function—when, in fact, Facebook intercepts and scans the content and treats portions of that content no differently than a public ‘Like’ or post, broadcast openly across the Internet,” they’re complaint reads.

The plaintiffs, who are seeking class action status, say Facebook violates federal wiretap laws and California privacy laws.

This lawsuit comes hot off the heels of news that Facebook will have to face a lawsuit accusing the social network of misleading investors during its botched initial public stock offering.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...