Facebook slammed with lawsuit for illegally snooping on private messages

Facebook screen on smartphone

Facebook has come under the controversy scanner for many times. The social media giant is reportedly in hot water, again. In accordance with a new lawsuit against Facebook, the company is accused to allegedly violate federal privacy laws by examining users’ private messages. The lawsuit is certified as class action yesterday in Northern California District Court.

As per an earlier report by The Verge, Plaintiffs had also alleged that Facebook might be scanning users’ private messages. The social media giant had been allegedly going through the links contained in the message body and was treating it as a ‘like’ for the shared page. Plaintiff has further accused the website to be using the obtained data from messages to compile users profiles. The compiled data was being pitched to the reach advertising targets.

Interestingly, the certification specifies the verdict to be an injunctive relief to the accusing party. It means that plaintiffs wouldn’t get any monetary compensation, despite the result of the lawsuit. Instead, if they rule against Facebook then they might just ask it to stop data compiling practices, nothing further. Plaintiffs have been given time until June 8 to make amends to the complaint, as per their findings.

Plaintiffs v/s Facebook

Facebook Lawsuit

In a response to the lawsuit news, a Facebook spokesperson replied to CNET. He said that the company has refrained from the data aggregating practice long ago. He further added,”We agree with the court’s finding that the alleged conduct did not result in any actual harm and that it would be inappropriate to allow plaintiffs to seek damages on a class-wide basis. The remaining claims relate to historical practices that are entirely lawful, and we look forward to resolving those claims on the merits.”

According to the Plaintiffs, Facebook is still collecting URLs from private messages for monetary targets. The company claims that,“Facebook’s source code not only reveals that Facebook continues to acquire URL content from private messages, but that it also continues to make use of the content it acquires.” 

In the past, many media houses have reported similar claims against Facebook’s practices. Given the commercialisation speed of the social media giant, we do see fire and smoke in this case. It would be pretty interesting to see what the court finally decides for the lawsuit. Stay tuned with us for more updates on the story.

A 90's kid, who has witnessed the evolution of technology - from landline to smartphones. Been there, used that! Love trying out new gadgets and writing about them.