How Private Are Facebook’s Private Messages?


SpyingOnLaptopUser650Are Facebook’s private messages really private? Not so much, according to a lawsuit that accuses the social network of scanning the content of private messages and sharing information about users’ Web activities with advertisers and marketers, Bloomberg reported.

According to the lawsuit — Matthew Campbell vs. Facebook Inc., 13-5996, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose) — as reported by Bloomberg, Facebook’s actions violate California privacy and unfair competition laws, as well as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, with Michael Sobol, an attorney for the plaintiffs, writing:

(Scanning private messages) 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.

Bloomberg reported that the plaintiffs are seeking a court order to certify the case as a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all Facebook users who have used the social network’s private messaging features in the past two years and included Web links, as well as an order that Facebook cease message intercepting, and damages of up to $ 10,000 per user.

Facebook Spokeswoman Jackie Rooney said the allegations are “without merit.”

Readers: How do you see this case playing out?

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