Facebook has long been plagued with privacy complaints from users. The most recent accusation comes in the form of a lawsuit, alleging that Facebook is “scanning” private messages and using the data to improve marketing algorithm.
According to Bloomberg, the lawsuit alleges that this scanning is a violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and a California privacy law. However, the ECPA is specific to government monitoring of private digital correspondence and has nothing to do with commercial use of private data.
While a Facebook spokesperson claimed the suit was without merit, there may be some teeth to the allegation that Facebook violated a California privacy law. Indeed, California Online Privacy Protection Law requires that:
Facebook is not the only company being accused of intercepting communications but my guess is that they’ve provided the necessary privacy disclaimers to insulate themselves from legal action. Still, the outcome of these cases could set a precedent for the way companies like Facebook and Google treat user privacy in the future.
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