Facebook has apparently crossed the line again. Two users have sued the social media giant for allegedly eavesdropping on private chats for commercial purposes. The complaint was filed in a San Jose federal court. Facebook legal representatives have denied the charges and claimed that there is no truth to their allegations.
Facebook has been accused of violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and also not respecting California’s privacy and unfair competition laws. This is not the first time Facebook has been accused of privacy theft and snooping for financial profit.
As we published last month, Facebook can track every letter you type, posted or not. Although no legal action was taken back then, Facebook openly admitted to conducting the intrusive research and basically disrespecting user privacy.
The complaint, made by Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley, talks about Facebook scanning private messages for third-party links and using the information collected for implementing targeted ads. It’s further claimed that user profiles are being created and sold to various advertisers. This erosion of user privacy has infuriated many.
“The allegations are without merit,” Facebook spokeswoman Jackie Rooney commented when asked about the complaint and the latest claims of privacy theft. “We will defend ourselves vigorously.”
Campbell and Hurley are basing their case on the fact that Facebook tricks it’s users into using private messages for exchanging private information, yet harvests the data and exposes it for commercial gains. If the accusations are proven correct, millions of Facebook users will probably rethink their need to use the social platform.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this case pans out, but there are a few basic steps all social media users should take immediately to protect their privacy and personal information.
All users must simply refrain from sharing private information via social media, specially phone numbers and financial information. It’s also advised to avoid personal check-ins, a leading feature of the Facebook experience. This prevents the exposure of your life patterns and keeps social networks from using you to upgrade their business intelligence.
Click here to read the whole complaint – Campbell vs Facebook
Source 1 – Facebook Sued
Source 2 – Facebook Allegedly Scanning Private Messages