Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Mobile Tech
24/7/365 Network Uptime!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Could Class Action Suit Ruin Facebook?
Could Class Action Suit Ruin Facebook?

By Jennifer LeClaire
January 3, 2014 11:18AM

    Bookmark and Share
The plaintiffs are seeking a court order to certify the case against Facebook as a class action lawsuit. It could potentially involve as many as 166 million Facebook users who have sent or received private messages that included links over the past two years. The plaintiffs are seeking as much as $10,000 in damages for each affected user.
 



For all the headlines about the National Security Agency spying on Internet users, the bright light is now turning to Facebook. Two Facebookers this week filed suit against the social networking behemoth, claiming their private messages are being read.

"Contrary to its representation, 'private' Facebook messages are systematically intercepted by the company in an effort to learn the contents of the users' communications," according to the suit, which was filed in California district court.

Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley, the plaintiffs in the case, allege that Facebook is scanning messages and links included in those messages to search for information that would allow them “to profile the message-sender’s web activity.”

Seeking Class Action

"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," the suit said. "Thus, Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users' profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.”

The plaintiffs are seeking a court order to certify the case as a class action suit. If they get the order, it could potentially involve as many as 166 million people who have sent or received private messages that included links over the past two years. The plaintiffs are also asking the court to ban Facebook from continuing to intercept private social media messages and are seeking as much as $10,000 in damages for each affected user.

Facebook issued a public statement saying, “We continue to believe the allegations in the lawsuit have no merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Billions in Potential Liability

We asked Greg Sterling, a principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, for his take on the lawsuit. He told us the suit seems to have some potential for success on the face of it -- and if the class is certified it could mean billions in potential liability for Facebook.

“The facts would also appear to implicate Facebook's consent decree with the United States FTC regarding deceptive privacy practices,” Sterling said. “However, it's still premature to predict any outcome. Facebook has said it will aggressively defend against the claims.”

When the scanning of private messages was initially discovered in late 2012, the company appears to have acknowledged the practice, Sterling noted. The question, he said, is whether it's deceptively counting URLs in those messages as “likes” and then including that information in its ad-targeting algorithm as the complaint alleges.

Now, people are also pointing the finger at Google for reading messages. Sterling pointed out, “Google has been sued under the same anti-wiretapping statute and in currently in litigation over scanning the contents of Gmail messages.”
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Zac:

Posted: 2014-01-05 @ 3:49am PT
If you want to send private messsages ditch Facebook, and WhatsApp for Telegram. Its open source and encrypted and has offered a $200k prize for anyone able to hack it: https://www.telegram.org/

Jill:

Posted: 2014-01-03 @ 9:02pm PT
Seriously, leave facebook now! If you're totally oblivious to privacy-based sites, then check out some of these: Ravetree, DuckDuckGo, HushMail, and there are many more.





 Mobile Tech
1.   FTC Wants Fix for Mobile Cramming
2.   BlackBerry Acquires Secusmart
3.   T-Mobile Calls 'BS' on AT&T Promo
4.   Win Phone 8.1 Update Already on Way
5.   Researchers Tout Battery Breakthrough


advertisement
FTC Wants Fix for Mobile Cramming
Overcharges are 'the perfect scam'.
Average Rating:
BlackBerry Acquires Secusmart
German security firm offers street cred.
Average Rating:
Researchers Tout Battery Breakthrough
Lithium anode could triple capacity.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 
Dropbox for Business Beefs Up Security
Dropbox is upping its game for business users. The cloud-based storage and sharing company has rolled out new security, search and other features to boost its appeal for businesses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Watson Gets His First Customer Service Gig
Since appearing on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer has been making a living using his super-intelligent knowledge base for business verticals. Now, Watson's been hired for his first customer service job.
 
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
FTC Wants Fix for 'Perfect Scam' of Mobile Cramming
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued new guidelines to curb “mobile cramming,” a troublesome practice that adds unauthorized third-party charges to mobile phone bills.
 
BlackBerry Buys German Security Firm Secusmart
Looking to burnish its business reputation, BlackBerry has agreed to buy a German mobile security company that specializes in voice/data encryption as well as anti-eavesdropping solutions.
 
Stanford Researchers Report Battery Breakthrough
Stanford researchers have found a way to use lithium in a battery's anode, a breakthrough that could triple capacity and has been described as the "holy grail of battery science."
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.