According to a report earlier this month, the answer to that question could be Yes. Based on the class action lawsuit Facebook is facing, it’s alleged that the global social networking site has violated its users’ right to privacy.
Apparently our private messages are not private from Facebook, as the site has been accused of scanning private messages containing URL’s in order to conduct data mining and user profiling. Facebook is fighting back, “We believe the allegations are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously”.
As a class action lawsuit, the suit is brought forward on behalf of all users in the United States. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against Facebook which would stop them from scanning URL’s in private messages, while also paying out $100 to each member multiplied by the number of days Facebook is found having violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
So what is Facebook doing with this data? Sharing it with their marketers of course, and you’d have to believe that the data they’re getting scanning and intercepting private messages is extremely valuable. Facebook users operating under the impression that private messages are in fact private are much more likely to share valuable information and data about themselves than they would in a public environment.
How on earth did someone figure out what Facebook was doing?
How on earth did someone figure out what Facebook was doing? It was in fact a Swiss firm, called High-Tech Bridge that conducted a test on several different social networking sites and their respect for user privacy. Private messages were embedded with a unique URL on each of the sites, and then monitored to see whether any of the servers would ‘click’ on the test URL’s.
Of course, all of this privacy debacle comes just a few months after Facebook launched their new, integrated email and messaging service for users. During the launch of this service, Facebook called out their privacy features as unprecedented.
Whose side are you on, Facebook or the User?