Facebook Faces a Lawsuit for Scanning Users Private Messages


In Northern California, Facebook is suffering from a class-action lawsuit over allegations in which states the company is systematically scanning Facebook user’s private messages over the social network, even without the user’s consent. Even more outstanding, Facebook is also profiting off your messages by sharing the valuable information with advertisers, as well as marketers.

Facebook Sued

Looking into the lawsuit that has been filed against Facebook, the social media giant is in clear violations of the Federal Privacy Laws by scanning its user’s private messages.

Facebook scans the URL’s inside the private messages for several reasons such as for anti-malware protection, as well as industry standard searches for child pornography. However, it has also been claimed that the social media giant is also using the data from active users for means of advertisement as well as “User-Target” services.

Matthew Campbeeland Michael Hurley, who are the plaintiffs against the large social media giant, has argued that Facebook is indeed scanning and collecting the URL’s from inside private messages in a non-related data searchable form. This violating both the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the California Invasion of Privacy Act. This has been reported in The Verge as they covered this story.

Facebook Lawsuit filed

Naturally, Facebook argues back. They’re stating the company is only scanning their users privatized messages in bulk, which they aim to maintain the URL records in a central anonymized way. It also happens to be utilized in an aggregated form.

According to the technical analysis that had been performed on the social giant on behalf of the plaintiffs, each of the URL-related messages was in fact stored inside Titan. This possesses a private message database in which displays every message, accompanied with a date and time stamp of when the message was sent. This also includes the user ID’s of both receiving and sending ends.

Facebook has also utilized this same practice previously, however, contrary to the company claiming they had stopped performing such privacy invasion acts a long time ago.

A Facebook spokesperson has informed CNET “We agree with the court’s findings that the alleged conduct did not result in any actual harm and that it would be inappropriate to allow plaintiffs to seek damages on a class-wide basis.” The representative continues to add that “The remaining claims relate to historical practices that are entirely lawful, and we look forward to resolving those claims on the merits.”

However, the story persists that the plaintiffs are arguing that Facebook is still in full force with pursuing the collection of links from private massages of their users. In return, Facebook’s source code not only provides the information that Facebook continues to acquire URL content from the private messages, the company also continues to profit from the content that the scanning software acquires.

The lawsuit had originally been filed back in 2012 and for now, the case is expecting to proceed. The plaintiffs of the lawsuit have only until June 8th in order to file for the amended complaint, in which is then followed by a scheduled conference near the end of the month.

**Please download a PDF version for future offline reading HERE**

Sources: TheHackerNews, The Verge, Titan, CNET.

This article (Facebook Faces a Lawsuit for Scanning Users Private Messages) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ


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