Facebook sued for allegedly reading private messages and selling data to advertisers

By on January 3, 2014, 4:00 PM
facebook, lawsuit, privacy, private messages

Two Facebook users have filed a lawsuit against the social networking giant claiming the site violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in addition to California privacy and unfair competition laws by reading private messages sent between users and sharing key data with advertisers, marketers and other data aggregators.

Michael Hurley and Matthew Campbell filed the lawsuit on December 30 in a U.S. district court in Northern California. The suit also alleges that Facebook scans messages for URLs and when a link is found, it’s essentially clicked. If the destination has a Facebook “Like” button, it’s registered as a “Like.”

The plaintiffs want to suit to be made into a class action lawsuit and believe that up to 166 million Facebook member could be eligible to join in. The suit seeks up to $100 a day for each violation or $10,000 total for each user affected.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has been in hot water over private message privacy concerns. In 20012, the Wall Street Journal ran a story that essentially covered the same topic. Facebook at the time said their computers do analyze messages but only to filter spam and detect chatter that might be related to criminal activities.

Facebook isn’t the only company that’s come under fire for allegedly reading users’ messages as Google, LinkedIn and Yahoo have all faced privacy complaints in recent memory.

As for the lawsuit, a Facebook spokesperson told the Huffington Post that the complaint is without merit and they will defend themselves vigorously.




User Comments: 11

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1 person liked this | wastedkill said:

"This isn't the first time Facebook has been in hot water over private message privacy concerns. In 20012, the Wall Street Journal ran a story that essentially covered the same topic. Facebook at the time said their computers do analyze messages but only to filter spam and detect chatter that might be related to criminal activities."

Ok who used the time machine and posted a story from 20012?

1 person liked this | Guest said:

In 20012

typo..

Guest said:

Seriously, leave facebook now! If you're totally oblivious to privacy-based sites, then check out some of these: Ravetree, DuckDuckGo, HushMail, and there are many more.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

All social networking sites should include a disclaimer in their agreement that you waive all rights to privacy if you use them. We should all just save the NSA the time, hassle and tax payers money by closing our social networking accounts and join theirs. I mean these social networking sites are really just a NSA front with ad's.

MikeAcker said:

All social networking sites should include a disclaimer in their agreement that you waive all rights to privacy if you use them. We should all just save the NSA the time, hassle and tax payers money by closing our social networking accounts and join theirs. I mean these social networking sites are really just a NSA front with ad's.

I think to a significant extent folks are coming to understand all this 'free' stuff is really a business model in which personal information ('PII' is the currency. PII is essential to advertising campaigns that are 'targeted', I.e. addressed to individuals who have manifested an interest in a particular type of product.

the biggest mining ops are the commercial software companies and it appears most of our hacking -- black ops, NSA etc are patched on. in my view the 'hackers' -- criminals -- are the biggest threat. but when we secure our systems agains criminal hacking -- who else gets shut out? everybody. oh well.

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

This doesnt surprise me one bit. Facebook has been up to no good ever since it began to become popular. They just care about money, not their users.

treetops treetops said:

Surprise surprise, not

Chuck Cortes Chuck Cortes said:

I thought it was just random but now I see that typos have become far too common on this sites articles. Between the "20012" typo and the "The plaintiffs want to suit to be made" grammar error, I am annoyed at the lack of professionalism on this site. Even my browser has a spell check and grammar function. I already dropped MaximumPC due to their stupid readers who have learned nothing about tech while on there plus their useless registration section that doesn't work, now I'm gonna have to find a place where the writers don't spend more time researching the latest in tech while disregarding grammar. Totally unprofessional.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

They might be using iPhone's auto-correct when writing the article. :p

kidding aside don't use any social site if you have privacy concerns. Using Facebook is free so they use your data for income.

I thought it was just random but now I see that typos have become far too common on this sites articles. Between the "20012" typo and the "The plaintiffs want to suit to be made" grammar error, I am annoyed at the lack of professionalism on this site. Even my browser has a spell check and grammar function. I already dropped MaximumPC due to their stupid readers who have learned nothing about tech while on there plus their useless registration section that doesn't work, now I'm gonna have to find a place where the writers don't spend more time researching the latest in tech while disregarding grammar. Totally unprofessional.

Guest said:

People still use Facebook?

learninmypc learninmypc said:

Heck, I know people that don't care if everybody knows everything about them.

Don't put it on fb if you don't want the world to know.

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