Facebook Spied on Snapchat Users Reveal Court Documents

In 2016, Facebook initiated a covert project dubbed “Project Ghostbusters” to intercept and decrypt traffic between Snapchat users and servers, TechCrunch reports.


Newly unsealed court documents, emerging from a class action lawsuit against Meta (formerly Facebook), shed light on the clandestine endeavor aimed at understanding user behavior and gaining an edge over competitors like Snapchat, Amazon, and YouTube.

The documents, released by a federal court in California, exposed Meta’s efforts to analyze network traffic of competitors’ platforms despite encryption barriers.

Meta, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, sought innovative ways to gather data on Snapchat, recognizing its rapid growth.

Initially, Meta’s engineers proposed using Onavo, a VPN-like service acquired in 2013, to circumvent encryption barriers. This approach involved intercepting traffic for specific subdomains, enabling the extraction of in-app usage data, despite encryption.

However, concerns arose within Meta regarding the ethical implications of Project Ghostbusters. Some employees, including Jay Parikh and Pedro Canahuati, expressed discomfort with the invasive nature of the project, highlighting potential privacy breaches.


The revelations emerged amid a class action lawsuit filed in 2020 by Sarah Grabert and Maximilian Klein, alleging that Facebook misled users about its data collection practices and utilized extracted data to gain insights into competitors’ strategies.

Despite these disclosures, neither Google, Meta, nor Snap have so far issued any comments regarding the matter.

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