Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Class action suit takes Facebook to court over the scanning of private messages

Updated 8 years ago
Published Dec 26th, 2014 8:00AM EST
Facebook Messenger Scanned Messages

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.

FROM EARLIER: A step-by-step guide to erasing everything you search for on Facebook

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.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.