Facebook Sued For Monitoring Private Messages

Happy New Year! 2014 may only be a few days old, but already there are plenty of social media stories breaking, and one in particular that may have already caught your eye is the allegation that Facebook monitors users’ private messages.

A class action lawsuit is being brought against Facebook, claiming that the social network scans external links shared by users in private messages in order to profile the sender’s web activity. It goes on to accuse the social network of systematically intercepting messages to mine user data, and then sharing this data with advertisers for profit.

The lawsuit is based upon independent research that claims Facebook reviews users’ private messages “for purposes unrelated to the facilitation of message transmission”. Facebook has in turn said that the allegations are “without merit” adding “We will defend ourselves vigorously”.

While some privacy advocates and campaigners are accusing Facebook of carrying out the alleged monitoring for the purposes of profiting from users’ data, others are coming to the defence of the social network.

Security expert Graham Cluley believes that the automated scanning of links is justified:

“If you didn’t properly scan and check links there’s a very real risk that spam, scams, phishing attacks, and malicious URLs designed to infect recipients’ computers with malware could run rife.”

Whatever your view on this is, we at SocialSafe must point out to all of our users, and anyone else reading this blog, that we never see nor store anything that you back up within your SocialSafe journal. Every time you download Facebook messages – or any other type of content – with SocialSafe, you are downloading the data straight from the social networks directly to your own machine, and we never see it nor store it.

For more on our view that ‘your data is your data’, please refer to this blog from the archive that explains our position further: SocialSafe – We Never See Nor Store Your Data.