Facebook faces suit for mining 'private' messages

2014-01-04 09:48
Facebook. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Facebook. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Facebook has been hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging the social networking behemoth gleans data from purportedly private messages, in violation of users' rights.

Two plaintiffs claim the site scans private correspondence between users for links to third-party websites, sharing that information with the likes of "advertisers, marketers and other data aggregators".

The suit accuses Facebook of violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy laws.

Facebook has "systematically violated consumers' privacy by reading its users' personal, private Facebook messages without their consent," said the complaint, filed 30 December in the US District Court for Northern California.

"Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is 'private' creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook, because 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," it said.

The suit was brought forth by two Facebook users from different US states, Matthew Campbell of Arkansas and Michael Hurley of Oregon.

It was filed on behalf of all US Facebook members who have used the site to send or receive a message that includes a link.

"Facebook scanned plaintiffs' messages and searched the website identified in the URL for purposes including but not limited to data mining and user profiling," the suit said.

According to the suit, Facebook earned $2.7bn from targeted advertising sales in 2011.

The suit also said that while Facebook hides the extent of its data mining from users, it is clear on the subject in its technical guidance for web developers.

The case is similar to a lawsuit against Google, which is accused of violating user privacy by scanning the contents of Gmail messages.

Facebook has faced a slew of complaints and court actions on privacy, and last year settled a class action suit over the use of user names and images in so-called "sponsored stories".

A study by the Pew Research Centre released earlier this week revealed that Facebook is the preferred social network in America, used by 71% of online adults, or 57% of all American adults.

Read more on:    facebook  |  us  |  privacy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.