Facebook sued over alleged scanning of users’ private messages

Facebook is being sued over claims it monitors users’ private messages before selling on the information.Facebook is being sued over allegations it monitors users’ private messages (Picture: Reuters)Facebook is being sued over allegations it monitors users’ private messages (Picture: Reuters)

The social network is being accused of mining user data and sharing it with advertisers, marketers and data aggregators. Facebook users Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley have brought the lawsuit against Facebook in the US, claiming the company are in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The lawsuit claims the scanning ‘is a mechanism for Facebook to surreptitiously gather data in an effort to improve its marketing algorithms and increase its ability to profit from data about Facebook users’. It adds that: ‘Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is private creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook. ‘Users who believe they are communicating on a service free from surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored. ‘Thus, Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users’ profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.’ Facebook denied the claims in a statement, saying: ‘We believe the allegations are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.’

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