Facebook Is Facing A Class-Action Lawsuit for Scanning Users’ Private Messages

Facebook has been having a bit of a controversial year.

The social media giant got blasted earlier this summer for manipulating users’ emotions, and their new mobile Facebook Messenger has been widely criticized for tracking a ridiculous amount of user data.

Now they’re in hot water once again. According to engadget.com,

“A California judge recently ruled that The Social Network will face a class-action lawsuit following accusations that it peeked at users’ private messages without consent to deliver targeted advertising.”


Facebook tried to get the case dismissed by arguing that the message scanning was authorized under an exception of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The exception states that this kind of data collection is authorized if it happens within the “ordinary course” of the service provider’s business.

However, the California judge ruled that Facebook failed to provide a legitimate explanation of how their scanning of users’ private messages was part of the “ordinary course” of their business.

facebook class action

According to Bloomberg,

“The plaintiffs are seeking a court order certifying the case as a group, or class action, lawsuit on behalf of all Facebook users who have sent or received a private message in the past two years that included a Web links. They are also asking to bar Facebook from continuing to intercept messages and seek as much as $10,000 in damages for each user.”


It’s extremely unlikely that the plaintiffs will succeed in securing that $10,000 figure, even if they win their lawsuit against Facebook. But with more than a billion users, even a judgment of $1 per user would be a major hit to the social media site’s pocketbooks.

Read the original story from Engadget.

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