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Facebook private message data scraping suit begins in Ontario

updated 10:33 am EDT, Thu April 10, 2014

Suit alleges social network violated its own privacy policy in harvesting data

An Ontario, Canada class-action suit now underway alleges that Facebook has been scanning user's private messages without permission from users. Allegedly, the social network was using the data to grow advertising revenue, and was stopped in 2012 when an investigation found that the practice was widespread.

"Facebook intercepted its users' private messages for its own commercial gain, and has never acknowledged or apologized for its behavior," said Joel Rochon, attorney for the class members. "Social networking sites such as this need to be held publicly accountable. Surreptitious surveillance of private communications cannot be tolerated in a democratic society."

Prior to the 2012 investigation by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook's privacy policy claimed that private message were not subject to scraping. According to the suit, users were induced into sharing more personal information as they were assuming that the data was private between sender and recipient.

The class action suit includes all Canadian Facebook users who sent or received a private message from the founding of the service up to and including October 31, 2012. The suit is seeking compensation and a public acknowledgement that Facebook was harvesting user data from private messages.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. aardman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-18-09

    It's only news when Facebook DOES NOT collect your private information.

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