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Facebook sued for invading users’ priv acy
From: Jeffrey Walton <noloader () gmail com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2014 16:03:20 -0500


Two Facebook users this week filed a class action complaint against
the social network, Ars Technica reports, alleging that the messaging
system inside Facebook is not as private as it’s advertised to be, and
that the company actively mines for data from personal messages and
generates likes based on the content exchanged between users. Facebook
described its messaging system as “unprecedented,” when it comes to
privacy controls, but the filing alleges that the company is actually
accessing data gathered from chats without the user consent.

“Instead to increase user’s comfort with the website and, thereby,
increase the amount of information they share, the company makes
assurances of user control over privacy settings and messaging
options,” the filing says. “In reality, Facebook never intended to
provide this level of confidentiality. Instead, Facebook mines any and
all transmissions across its network, including those it labels
‘private,’ in order to gather any and all morsels of information it
can about its users.”

The filing further explains how Facebook can access the links
contained in private messages exchanges and assign likes on the site’s
respective Facebook page in case it discovers “Like” buttons on that
website. Furthermore, the plaintiffs say that Facebook “uses a
combination of software and human screening to comb through private
messages,” in order to use the available data for various purposes
including selling it to interested third parties. According to them,
while Facebook does explain what user information it receives, it
never explains how it “scans, mines and manipulates the content of
users’ private messages.”

The plaintiffs seek compensation – the greater of either $100 for each
day of violation, or $10,000 – as well as statutory damages of either
$50,000 per class member or three times the amount of actual damages.

In addition to the class action suit against Facebook, a petition on
Care2 The Petition Site is asking Facebook to “stop stalking our
unposted thoughts” on the network. The petition was just a few hundred
signatures short of its 28,000 goal at the time of this writing, and
it comes in response to the recent discovery that Facebook keeps track
of everything a user writes while inside the social network,
regardless of whether the message or status update is posted or

“The fact that they are doing this is scary and crazy, remember
Facebook has been sharing data with the NSA! We have all written posts
and then decided against posting them for various reasons. Now we
learn Facebook is looking at these posts. If they choose to save them
as they claim their policies enable them to, it could mean that every
key stroke entered at Facebook could be sent to a government agency,”
the petition says. “On top of all this is the fact that users chose
not to post these comments so they should not be seen by anyone. This
is a breach of privacy that goes beyond user-beware, as users don’t
even know their posts are being viewed.”
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