- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2014

Facebook has been named in a class-action suit over allegations the social media site takes users’ private messages and scans them for potential advertising purposes.

The suit was filed by in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California this week.

Among the allegations, ZDNet reported: Facebook scans and monitors user messages that are supposed to be private, and then takes select content to generate profiles about online activity — which is then sold for profit to marketers and advertisers. Those advertisers then allegedly use the information to build and target ads specific to those users.

The complaint reads, ZDNet said: “Contrary to its representation, ‘private’ Facebook messages are systematically intercepted by the company in an effort to learn the contents of the users’ communications. … This practice enables Facebook to mine user data and profit from those data by sharing them with third parties — namely, advertisers, marketers and other data aggregators.”

The plaintiffs want to win either $100 per day of privacy breach, or $10,000 for each user in the United States who claims to have been impacted by the Facebook action, ZDNet said.

Facebook, meanwhile, denies the charges and says the suit is “without merit,” the outlet reported.