Facebook is being sued by two users for intercepting the “content of the users’ communications,” including private messages, with the intent to “mine user data and profit from those data by sharing them with third parties—namely, advertisers, marketers, and other data aggregators.” The plaintiffs argue in a December 30 class action complaint that Facebook’s use of the word “private” in relation to its messaging system is misleading, given the way the company treats the info contained within those messages.
Many of the allegations in this case are based on research done in 2012 by the Wall Street Journal for a series of articles about digital privacy. Facebook is far from the first company to use private messages to mint money. Gmail continues to be dinged for creating text ads based off of the content of e-mails ten years after the ads were first introduced. (And Gmail has been sued for that, too.)
Facebook goes to lengths to clearly distinguish its messaging feature as “private,” even calling it “unprecedented” in terms of the privacy controls, the filing alleges. “Facebook never intended to provide this level of confidentiality. Instead, Facebook mines any and all transmissions… in order to gather any and all morsels of information it can about its users.”
via Ars Technica http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/index/~3/qc1ikxDPKQc/