Sunday, May 27, 2018 by Vicki Batts
Facebook is once again at the helm of controversy and has been accused of spying on app users. A court case in California alleges that the social media giant used its apps to gather information about patrons and their friends — including reading their messages, tracking their location and even accessing photos on their phones. Former startup Six4three has been engaged in a veritable Pandora’s box of a case against Facebook for roughly two years.
And the latest revelations from Six4three’s lawsuit allege that Facebook has been engaging in mass surveillance of users for some time now. One court document reportedly states, “Facebook continued to explore and implement ways to track users’ location, to track and read their texts, to access and record their microphones on their phones, to track and monitor their usage of competitive apps on their phones, and to track and monitor their calls.”
It certainly sounds like spying, doesn’t it? But of course, a Facebook spokesperson has rebuked the accusation, stating that Six4three’s “claims have no merit, and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.”
According to The Guardian, the claims about Facebook’s uncouth spying efforts appear in a January filing — the fifth amended complaint made by Six4three. The document also alleges that Facebook collected this information for “commercial purposes.”
The bulk of the details regarding Faceook’s surveillance have been redacted from court documents; according to the social media site, these are “confidential business matters.” Whether or not these omissions are more like a silent admission of guilt has yet to be determined. But Facebook has come under fire for possible invasions of privacy in the past.
As The Guardian explains, Six4three is suing over the failure of an app called Pikinis, which would have given users the ability to zero in on photos of their friends in swimsuits.
The former startup alleges “the social media company lured developers and investors on to the platform by intentionally misleading them about data controls and privacy settings.”
And in their January document, Six4three also alleges that the social media darling “tracked users extensively, sometimes without consent.”
Supposedly, Facebook was taking metadata and content from text messages from their users with Android phones. Facebook could access most photos, including those that had not been uploaded to Facebook on iPhones, as well — according to the Six4three lawsuit.
The complaint claims, “Facebook disclosed publicly that it was reading text messages in order to authenticate users more easily … [but] this partial disclosure failed to state accurately the type of data Facebook was accessing, the timeframe over which it had accessed it, and the reasons for accessing the data of these Android users.”
“Facebook used this data to give certain Facebook products and features an unfair competitive advantage over other social applications on Facebook Platform,” it alleges further.
Recently, Facebook actually came forward and admitted that they did scan users’ text messages — but claims they only did so with consent, and for the purpose of protection. However, The Guardian reports that in some instances, Facebook has logged messages without notifying users.
Combined with their penchant for censoring conservative voices, it seems that Facebook just can’t escape their laundry list of dirty deeds anymore.
Keep up with the latest privacy invasions at Technocrats.news.
Sources for this article include: