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Facebook will have to deal with a class-action lawsuit that alleges that the company violated privacy laws by scanning the private messages of users for better advertising, according to a Tuesday ruling by U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton.
In January, two men filed a complaint against [company]Facebook[/company] that claimed the social network looks at private messages to discover what websites its users are sharing with each other. After learning of the websites, the complaint alleges that Facebook bumps up those sites’ “Likes,” making Facebook more attractive to advertisers.
As Gigaom’s Jeff John Roberts reported, “the process is similar to Google’s automated practice of scanning Gmail messages in order to serve relevant ads — a practice that a federal judge appeared to consider a violation of the Wiretap Act ([company]Google[/company] is appealing).”
While Reuters reported that Facebook argued that the message-scanning allegation “was covered by an exception under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act,” Judge Hamilton apparently wasn’t swayed and “denied Facebook’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit.”
Check out the original complaint here, via CNET’s Jennifer Van Grove.
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