Users Sue Facebook For Scanning Private Messages

A lawsuit has been filed against Social networking service, Facebook in a US court, alleging that the company has violated federal privacy laws.

The lawsuit, certified for class action in Northern California District Court, claims that Facebook follows the practice of scanning and logging URLs sent through the site’s private messaging system which is in violation of both the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California Invasion of Privacy Act, technology website.

It’s claimed that Facebook scans those URLs routinely for advertising and other user-targeting data and then maintains those records in a searchable form.

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Facebook however, said that private messages are scanned in bulk and the URL data is anonymised and only used in aggregate form.

Facebook described the records as “more akin to The New York Times publishing a list of bestselling books…the anonymised and aggregated data is used to indicate the popularity of information”.

Facebook argued that the collection of that data as a privacy violation constitutes “a technical attack on basic elements of computer programming.”

In 2012, it was revealed that Facebook was increasing a link’s Like count each time it was sent in a private message, an incident that plaintiffs take as evidence that the data is tied to a user’s profile. Facebook said the practice was discontinued, shortly after it was discovered.

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Daniel Enisan is a content writer at With a degree in mass communication, Daniel is a full breed journalist. Daniel is a realist, loves the use of sarcasm, a movie and music junkie. He is also a poet and a good listener.

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