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Facebook sued for selling private messages to advertisers

Complaint filed in California
Fri Jan 03 2014, 10:17

SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook said that it will "vigorously" defend itself against a lawsuit for selling its users' private messages to advertisers.

The firm is accused of scanning private communications between its users and assessing their value for advertisers before selling the information. Facebook said that this is not the case and promised to fight the legal case, which has been mounted in the US state of California.

"We continue to believe the allegations in this lawsuit have no merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously," said a spokesperson for the social network in a statement.

According to the legal documents, which have been reproduced in part by the BBC, the lawsuit is based on recent revelations about practices at Facebook.

Those revelations made in an independent report said that Facebook knows that there is money in scanning messages and doesn't tell users that that is what it is doing.

A study by Swiss security firm High-Tech Bridge performed tests on a range of social networks to see whether URL addresses could be scanned from messages. It scored Facebook a "Yes" for the potential for spying.

"Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is 'private' creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook because users who believe they are communicating on a service free from surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored," said the complaint that was filed in California by Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley. µ


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