Facebook Inc (FB): CA Judge Rules Class-Action Lawsuit on Privacy Can Go Forward
The latest news is that a California Judge has ruled that Facebook will have to face a class-action lawsuit. The decision followed complaints of the company previewing,quick viewing or scanning private messages of users’ without their permission to deliver targeted advertising.
The lawsuit, originally filed in 2013, alleged that Facebook scans the content of private messages sent between users for links to websites and would then count any links in a tally of “likes” of the pages. The likes were then used for delivering targeted advertising towards users with the data.
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California, has questioned Facebook on scanning messages without any authorization. The company attempted to dismiss the argument saying its actions were not meant to break any laws. The company which wanted immediate dismissal of claims, said that their actions were protected via an exemption in the privacy act of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
The company pointed to exemptions for interceptions that are afforded in the normal course of business for a service provider. However, the Judge did not seem to be convinced and opposed the argument. The Judge also said that the explanation failed to provide logic as to how the scanning of messages fell under the purview of a website’s normal business course of action.
According to an earlier report, users stands to benefit if they have sent or received links through the website’s private message system during the last two years based on the lawsuit. Apart from claiming damages, the plaintiffs wanted Facebook to stop scanning messages in future.
Interestingly, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has also been facing legal scrutiny for scanning messages though it was not facing a class-action suit. The results from these two cases could bind to have a bigger effect of how the communications and email are scanned going forward.
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