Facebook Lawsuit: Plaintiffs Say The Company Reads Users’ Private MessagesBy: Val Powell - January 3, 2014
Are your private messages being read by Facebook? On Dec. 30. 2013 Michael Hurley and Matthew Campbell filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook. The plaintiffs claim that Facebook “has systematically violated consumers’ privacy by reading its users’ personal, private Facebook messages without their consent.” The men also claim that Facebook scans its user’s private messages for links that lead to URLs that have Facebook “Like” buttons. They believe that if Facebook finds a “Like” button, it then attributes a “Like” to that webpage. Furthermore, the men claim that Facebook illegally extracts information found in its user’s private messages and sells the information to advertisers. In 2011, the company generated $2.7 billion in targeted ad sales, according to the lawsuit. If the allegations are true Facebook would also be in violation of California’s Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
The plaintiff are also demanding that Facebook, the world’s most used social media site, pay out $100 a day for each day of violation to members of the class action lawsuit.
Graham Cluley, internet security expert, argues that Facebook is justified in scanning the private messages of its users as a security measure. According to Cluley, if Facebook did not scan user messages the site would be “rife” with phishing scams, malware and spam.
This is not the first time Facebook has been hit with a class action lawsuit for privacy violation nor is it the only social media website to be accused. Last year, a similar lawsuit was filed by 10 plaintiffs that said their Gmail messages were illegally being read by Google.
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