Facebook is under fire once again regarding privacy of its millions of users with claims that the social media network has been monitoring private messages sent by users within the network.
A class action suit has been launched against Facebook alleging that Facebook is monitoring the content of private messages and links that are posted within them.
According to the BBC Facebook are intercepting messages to look for data that they can then share with advertisers and marketers but these claims have been said to be “without merit” by Facebook.
A statement from Facebook said “We will defend ourselves vigorously” against the claims against the social networking site.
The class action law suit is claiming for either $100 a day or $10,000 for each user, whichever is the greater for the violation.
The basis for the law suit comes from independent research which found that Facebook was allegedly looking and reviewing the content of private messages.
The lawsuit states: “For purposes unrelated to the facilitation of message transmission. Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is “private” creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook because users who believe they are communicating on a service free for surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored.
“Thus Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.”
It has been argued though that Facebook needs to monitor some elements of private messages to help to protect their users from spreading malware and spam throughout the network, although the extent of how deep they should be looking is not explored further.
The vast amount of data held within Facebook has made it one of the most sought after resources in the world for advertisers looking to target users specifically. Many people who use Facebook understand that the price of being able to use the service for free is that some of their user habits will be sold on to advertisers but the private message scandal will not sit well with many who believed the term private meant just that.