Facebook is again accused of violating the privacy of its users, Reuters reports, in a new class action suit that alleges the social network has been scanning the private messages sent by users in order to better target them with advertisements.
The company tried to have the lawsuit dismissed, saying that the alleged scanning of messages was allowed by an exception under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act “for interceptions by service providers occurring in the ordinary course of business,” but a judge denied Facebook’s request.
According to U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton, Facebook, had “not offered a sufficient explanation of how the challenged practice falls within the ordinary course of its business,” therefore it must defend against these allegations in a trial.
The lawsuit was filed in 2013, and says that Facebook scanned messages between users hunting for links to websites, counting them as “likes” for pages, and then using them in order to deliver related ads to users.
Facebook ceased this practice in October 2012, Reuters says, but the company still scans messages to protect users against viruses and fight spam.