Facebook scanned your private messages, now faces lawsuit
Facebook is now facing a class action lawsuit in the U.S. for allegedly scanning users’ private messages without having their consent. Consequently, Facebook violated user privacy and judges presiding over the case said that the scanning had the purpose of gathering data for advertisement targeting. Since Facebook is all about ads and it’s free because of them, Zuckerberg and co. might have just ignored privacy laws when it comes to private messaging.
The lawsuit was filed two years ago, and if the court rules against Facebook, users who had sent links in their private messages since then might be entitled to up to $10,000 in damages. Considering the fact that the Messenger app already has 500 million users, paying all that money to users might just bankrupt the company, although I highly doubt that. According to Judge Phyllis Hamilton of Oakland, California, Facebook violated privacy laws by not explaining how their practice fell within the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act for interceptions by service providers.
By scanning private messages and intercepting conversations and links sent through Messenger, Facebook can create more accurate user data profiles so that it can target its advertisements better. Even though the suit was filed a long time ago, its results could impact the way we use Facebook and whether the social media platform will stay as popular as it is today. Users who have found out about Zuckerberg and co.’s practices regarding private messages are outraged at the fact that the scanning was done without their knowledge and consent, agreeing with the ruling judge about the company’s liability and unlawful action. Although the scanning of private messages might just be a harmless marketing tactic, it still supposes the interception of private conversations and exchanges which were not meant for the eyes of companies. Since people are getting increasingly frustrated with ads on Facebook, this suit might mark a stepping stone in making the social media platform not-so-free.