Facebook is facing a lawsuit over accusations that the social media company scanned user messages without permission to deliver targeted advertising.
The company dismissed the claims but provided a less than satisfactory explanation. Their defense is that no laws were broken since the message scans were protected under an exception in the the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The exception says that the interceptions are legal if they happen over the ordinary course of a service provider’s business.
If the lawsuit succeeds, affected users could get as much as $10,000
Think that’s a weak explanation? The Californian judge presiding over the case thought so as well. The lawsuit is going to move forward as there is no valid explanation of how scanning user messages without permission falls under the umbrella of normal Facebook operations, according to the judge.
What’s interesting is that if the lawsuit succeeds, it would provide as much as $10,000 to every user who sent or received a link through private messages on Facebook in the past two years.
Another interesting case that closely parallels the same issues is one of Google, who are also under the microscope for unauthorized scanning of messages. If the Facebook lawsuit and Google case succeed, they could have very interesting repercussions for the future of the internet.