20th May 2016
Facebook recently scanned lots of private messages, and that might have been against the law — according to a class-action lawsuit. Facebook’s scanning and logging of URLs can support child porn searches, but they can also be used for marketing.
People call it 360-degree marketing. They want to have your data so they can “offer you a 360-degree experience” — that is, whether you interact with them over the phone or via an app or online, you have the same connect with the company.
What they internally mean by “360-degree” is, they want to send you marketing stuff in all ways possible. E-mail marketing died because of spam filters, so let’s look at... “Hmm. Let’s see what we can do.”
But that’s business as usual, literally. It gets interesting when a company like Facebook starts taking users’ info for marketing purposes. Info from private communications. That’s what the plaintiffs in this most recent Facebook case — Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley — are claiming: That Facebook is violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Children’s Privacy Act.
What can FB do? Temptation is human. Millions of users’ most personal data, and they just let it go?
The Verge notes that info that is “intentionally shared can be stored indefinitely and used ... without any legal implications. But links sent in private messages are, by definition, private, and any persistent record that a person had privately shared a specific link — to a medical clinic or political organization, for instance — would pose an obvious privacy concern.”
But FB says private messages are mass-scanned, with the URLs anonymised, and the useful marketing data used in a non-targeted way.
Then Mr Campbell and Mr Hurley went ahead to gain “significant access” to Facebook source code. Their attorneys have said, “The records that Facebook creates from its users’ private messages, and which are stored indefinitely, may be put to any use, for any reason, by any Facebook employee, at any time.”
It gets interestinger. FB then said the records are just a data list, and that calling this a privacy violation is “a technical attack on basic elements of computer programming.”
And then it gets even better! Campbell and Hurley asked for a technical analysis , which contradicts FB’s statement. Each URL in each message is stored in a database. Details apart, Facebook employees, it turns out, can identify who sent or received a URL-linked private message in the period specified by the lawsuit.
And then it kind of dies out: FB lawyers said the analysis was “speculative.”
If you’re among those who say they don’t care what a company knows about you: Well, you should care. No, they’re not going to send mercenaries to your apartment.
What “they” do is, they influence what you perceive and what you buy, which in turn influences your life and your aspirations, which in turn... ultimately influences your existence.
FB has in the past been embroiled in privacy litigations, but it’s only now that we see a lawsuit that clearly links their source code, privacy concerns, and the way they “continue to make use of the content (they acquire).”
From Lifehacker: Here’s what you can do to stop Facebook from knowing the colour of your underwear and send you ads based on that.
Image Source: https://adespresso.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/1.jpg
Facebook Using Your Data: No Problemo!
But there’s a difference between public and private data
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