Facebook to fight lawsuit claiming it scanned users’ private messages

3 Jan 2014

Social networking titan Facebook has said it will defend itself ‘vigorously’ against a class-action lawsuit’s accusation that is has intercepted users’ private messages to provide marketers with data.

A class-action lawsuit filed in a federal court in California claims Facebook scanned URLs in users’ private messages and searched the website identified in the URL for “purposes including but not limited to data mining and user profiling,” PCWorld reported.

Facebook has been accused of violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy laws by its intentional interception of electronic communications.

Users of the social network, Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley, are behind the lawsuit filed earlier this week on behalf of Facebook users in the US who have sent or received private messages on the network that contained a URL.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status (a lawsuit that allows a group of people to sue another group of people), an injunction against Facebook’s practices, and damages from the company to class members.

The lawsuit is also claiming the greater of either US$100 a day for each day of alleged violations or US$10,000, for each user.

Facebook replied by saying the allegations are “without merit”.

“We will defend ourselves vigorously,” the company said in a statement.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic