News in Brief: Facebook messages not private, suit says

January 16, 2014

Westlaw News in Brief thumbnailA putative class-action suit filed in California federal court accuses Facebook of wrongfully scanning users’ private messages to mine data, which it allegedly shares with third parties, including advertisers, marketers and aggregators.

Facebook users Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley allege the site misleads consumers into thinking that its private messaging system is secure.

However, Facebook surreptitiously intercepts and scans private messages and, if they include outside URLs, Facebook will visit the Web address to obtain data about its users, the suit says.

This conduct is not necessary in the ordinary course of business for electronic communication services, the complaint says.

Therefore, Facebook’s actions violate the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California’s privacy and unfair-competition laws, the suit says.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, asks for injunctive relief and statutory damages on behalf of the millions of Facebook users in the United States.

Campbell et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-CV-05996, 2013 WL 6903722 complaint filed (N.D. Cal., Oakland Div. Dec. 30, 2013).

Related Court Document on Westlaw or WestlawNext:
Complaint: 2013 WL 6903722