Facebook is being sued in a class action lawsuit over allegations that it monitors users' private messages. The lawsuit claims that when users share a link to another website via a private message, Facebook scans it to profile the sender's web activity, reports the BBC late Thursday evening.
It alleges that Facebook systematically intercepts messages to mine user data and profits by sharing it with data aggregators, advertisers and marketers. Plaintiffs, Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley, filed in court on Monday that, ‘Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users' profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.’
The lawsuit, filed earlier this week, cites independent research that, it claims, found Facebook reviews the contents of its users' private messages ‘for purposes unrelated to the facilitation of message transmission’.
The law suit alleges that users do not know that their information is making a profit for Facebook, since it is personal information that they place on Facebook to friends. Users would not reveal information if they knew it was being mined for profit.
‘Thus, Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users' profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.’
Facebook said the allegations were ‘without merit’.
‘We will defend ourselves vigorously,’ the world's biggest social networking site added.
Facebook has had complaints on privacy issues this past September over the proposed use of names and faces in advertising without consent. Facebook said at the time the changes in its policies were purely linguistic.
The lawsuit is claiming the greater of either $100 a day for each day of alleged violation or $10,000, for each user claimed to be affected.
Shares in Facebook were flat on Thursday against a slight market decline, tracked and reported by the Financial Times U.S. edition Thursday evening.
To view other articles on technology companies' issues concerning data privacy, issue of rights and Obama's meeting with technology industry leaders, please, see articles listed in Author's suggested titles.