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

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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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19 comments
Brett Pugmire
Brett Pugmire

Pahhlease-- as if my e-mails and text messages are safe.

aliasetc
aliasetc topcommenter

Facebook sucks, plain and simple

Jim Snyder
Jim Snyder

It's a free service but everything as we know is never free. Again if you don't like it - don't use it. There is a reason they're worth billions.

Scorpio53
Scorpio53

i don't mind selling some material to Hollywood for movie material.  Actually some FB family and friends have great honest content for a soap seris or movie.

Yolanda Ramos
Yolanda Ramos

take some content and sell it...to the movies...let's do this!! lol FB family have interesting content for daytime soap opera. FB gets a cut...and everyone makes money....

Henry Kielarowski
Henry Kielarowski

Perhaps we should go back to more "organic" communications, like paper and snail mail.

Andre Salcido
Andre Salcido

I was wondering why I kept getting AD's for Magnums.

Tom Ford
Tom Ford

Hi SF Weekly, isn't your whole business model to sell ads on your site? Also, isn't it ironic that you use facebook to drive traffic there?

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis

I have never told the truth on Facebook, it is a data miners paradise so I have told a lot of lies.

John LaForgia
John LaForgia

Of course it's a lame practice if Facebook (or other companies) does so...but I always find it funny when people are surprised when things like this come out...just such 'Um, durrr' moments.

sfhrod
sfhrod topcommenter

Facebook is wearing thin. 

Phil Krueger
Phil Krueger

hello Blaze Farrar, quit your bitching. it's a movie reference. carry on.

Robert Scalzi
Robert Scalzi

hahahahaah like the phone companies or google , yahoo or any other email service is "safe" try again SF weekly

Blaze Farrar
Blaze Farrar

Hello SF Weekly, While I appreciate knowing about FaceBook's latest offense, I object to your sexist and off-the-wall use of the phrase "The company's mean-girls practices." There were no "mean-girls" in this story. There was, however, some poorly chosen phrasing that was offensive.

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