The social juggernaut that is Facebook, is being sued for reading our private messages. Two men filed a complaint of this mishap in a court in San Francisco this past Monday. The laws which Facebook seem to be defying here are anti-wiretapping law, Electronics Communications Acts and several similar laws. The plaintiffs claim that Facebook scans the private messages to detect the links of the websites being talked about, and then increase the “Like(s)” of that page in order to surge its value in front of advertisers.
Is this surprising? Not at all. In the past few years, there have been a copious amount of such accusation, and on many, Facebook had even found to be guilty. Facebook mines our data to sell it to third party advertisers and other aggregators.
You might even get more frustrated after reading what Facebook has to say about this,
Facebook never intended to provide this level of confidentiality. Instead, Facebook mines any and all transmissions… in order to gather any and all morsels of information it can about its users.
The claimants describe how Facebook in fact clicks on the links you share with your friends. All the things you share undergoes software and human screening. They seek a compensation of $100 for each day of violation or $10,000 per class member, or damage of either $5,000 per class member, or three times the amount to compensate the actual damage, whichever result greater.
Many of us had been under the impression that only the data that we chose to share with “Public” goes under the mining, but that isn’t the case at all, it seems.
Facebook isn’t the only website you use that indulges in such activities, Yahoo, Gmail, Twitter too have had faced and found guilty on many similar allegations in the past.
With all our internet interaction tracked by these tech giants, and NSA, it reminds me of a quote by Andrew Lewis,
“If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold”.
Hat Tip Ars Technica. Image Credit: thednetworks.