After being sued in California last year over the scanning of users’ private messages, a similar class-action lawsuit has hit Facebook in Canada, which started today in Ontario Superior Court.
The issue? Facebook is accused of harvesting URLs in users’ private messages without them knowing for profit, in the sense it could use this information for better targeted advertising, its primary source of revenue.
“Facebook intercepted its users’ private messages for its own commercial gain and has never acknowledged or apologized for its behaviour,” said Joel Rochon, partner at Rochon Genova LLP, who is representing the class members. “Social networking sites such as this need to be held publicly accountable. Surreptitious surveillance of private communications cannot be tolerated in a democratic society.”
High-Tech Bridge revealed last August Facebook’s scanning of URLs in private messages by setting up their own test of 50 different social networks.
The class action lawsuit includes all Canadian resident Facebook users who sent or received private messages that contained a URL up until October 2012. Currently there are 18 million users in Canada and 75 percent of them log onto Facebook at least once daily.