Facebook has been accused of intercepting private messages of its users to provide data to marketers, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in a federal court in California.
The social networking company scanned plaintiffs’ private messages containing URLs (uniform resource locators) and searched the website identified in the URL for “purposes including but not limited to data mining and user profiling,” according to the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The company does not engage in the practice to facilitate the transmission of users’ communications via Facebook, but to enable it to mine user data and profit by sharing the data with third parties such as advertisers, marketers, and other data aggregators, the complaint said.
Facebook is said to have violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy laws by its intentional interception of electronic communications. The complaint cites third-party research to back its claim that Facebook is intercepting and scanning the content of private messages.