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Friday, January 3, 2014

Facebook Accused of Scanning Your Private Messages and Selling Them to Marketers

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 10:06 AM

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For a company that has built its empire on making sure you make friends, Facebook sure is a gossipy backstabber.

You know just the kind we're talking about.

According to a Bloomberg article, Facebook is being sued for its unfriendly practices of intercepting your private messages and then sharing them with advertisers and marketers for a big buck.

According to the lawsuit, when users compose messages that include links to a third-party website, Facebook helps itself to that information, scanning the contents of your private message. The company is also accused of following the links you put in those messages and looks for any information it can use to profile your web activity.

This, the lawsuit states, is violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the California privacy, as well as the unfair competition laws. It's also pissing people off.

The company's mean-girls practices not only reveals your private thoughts, but it is a breach of Facebook's promise of "unprecedented" security options for its messaging function, Facebook users said in the complaint filed in federal court in San Jose, California.

Naturally, Facebook is shrugging off these claims. Jackie Rooney, a spokeswoman for Facebook, told the news wire that the company believes these allegations have no merit.

The plaintiffs are asking for a court order certifying the case as a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all Facebook users who have sent or received a private message in the past two years that included web links. They are also asking to bar Facebook from continuing to intercept messages and seek as much as $10,000 in damages for each user.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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