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Facebook Privacy The Courts

Facebook Being Sued Over Mining of Private Messages 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the mine-your-own-business dept.
Kimomaru writes "Two Facebook users are trying to start a class action lawsuit against Facebook for allegedly mining information from private messages with the intention of selling is to advertisers (full complaint PDF). It's not the first time a social medial player has been in the press over privacy or security issues. But when the services are provided free of charge, does the user have a realistic expectation of privacy or security, especially when it's understood that the user's data is being mined for advertising? If not, should social media networks be allowed to use words like 'private' (as in private messaging) or 'security' to describe their services?"
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Facebook Being Sued Over Mining of Private Messages

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  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Informative)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <> on Friday January 03, 2014 @02:58PM (#45859103) Homepage Journal

    If i send a private message to someone on facebook, I feel I deserve the same level of privacy as if I was using gmail to send it.

    Isn't that what they are doing? GMail mines your email to give you targeted advertising as well.

  • Huh (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:05PM (#45859195)

    What part of the "you are the product" business model do these people not understand?

  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <> on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:09PM (#45859231) Homepage Journal

    Another sad tale lost to history.

    There ain't no such thing as a free lunch: In the 1800s in the western United States, many taverns would offer free lunches. The catch was that while the lunch was free, the beer was not. Even today, you'll see tavern and pub food offerings being the saltiest, greasiest food possible- an outgrowth of the free lunch menus, designed to make you thirsty so that you'll buy more beer. In downtown Portland, OR, a teetotaler millionaire decided to fight back- Samuel Benson. He did so by creating Skidmore Fountain and the "Benson Bubblers"- free water fountains that can still be seen in downtown Portland- which ended the free lunch craze there.

    So yes, it is *exactly* like a free lunch- give them the lunch, make them pay for the drinks.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:17PM (#45859327)

    ... But when the services are provided free of charge, does the user have a realistic expectation of privacy or security,...

    The user should have a realistic expectation that the service will abide by the Terms of service. This holds true whether or not the service is free or costs one's first-born child.

    So the discussion here should really center around how this alleged behavior violates facebook's terms of service.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:54PM (#45859725)

    I have a house, my house rules, nobody made you come over and I didn't charge you to get in... yet, when I punch you in the face, I still go to jail.

  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Em Adespoton (792954) <> on Friday January 03, 2014 @05:42PM (#45860741) Homepage Journal

    It's Facebook. Is it reasonable to expect complete privacy with any part of it? Email at least has some expectation of privacy, but even there, the big providers scan your email for targeted advertising.

    I really don't think a reasonable person expects a lot of "privacy" at Facebook, certainly "private messages" are only private from other users, not Facebook bots...

    If a message is stated as "Private" it should be treated entirely as private. I think that implication would hold up in any court as a reasonable expectation, regardless of how Facebook mines Public or Shared content. Dangerous precedent otherwise.

    Facebook doesn't have "Private Messages" -- they just have "Messages". So this debate is moot.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears