Facebook Gets Coal In Its Stocking, Faces Class Action Lawsuit For Message Scanning

Facebook will have to face a class action lawsuit that accuses the company of violating its users’ privacy. The lawsuit states that Facebook has been scanning the content of users’ messages sent to other users for advertising purposes.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California denied Facebook’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit, stating that it has “not offered a sufficient explanation of how the challenged practice falls within the ordinary course of its business.”

The company had argued that an exception under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act covered its alleged scanning of users’ messages as an interception by the service provider occurring during the ordinary course of business. 

Image Credit: Flickr (Maria Elena)

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2013 claiming that 
Facebook scanned the content of private messages for links to websites and then would tally any links discovered as “likes” of the pages. The “likes” would then be used for delivering targeting advertising to its users. 

Facebook user Matthew Campbell filed the lawsuit and has been seeking class action status on behalf of U.S. users who sent or received private messages containing website addresses.