US Judge denies Facebook’s request to dismiss a class action lawsuit dealing with users’ privacy

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A U.S. judge on Tuesday denied Facebook’s request to dismiss a class action lawsuit which accused the social media giant of violating its users’ privacy by scanning their private messages for targeted advertising purpose.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California, on Tuesday dismissed some state-law claims against Facebook but largely denied accepting the social giant’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit, filed by Facebook users Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley in 2013.

The lawsuit claims that Facebook violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and federal and California laws as it went on to scan the private messages sent between users for links to websites, count those links as “likes” of the pages; and use those “likes” to collect user profiles for placing targeted advertising to users.

In its defense, Facebook argued that the alleged scanning of its users’ messages was covered by an exception under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act for interceptions by service providers occurring in the ordinary course of business.

However, the judge said that Facebook had “not offered a sufficient explanation of how the challenged practice falls within the ordinary course of its business.”

As per Tuesday’s ruling, Facebook had ceased the practice in October 2012, but it still does some analysis of messages to protect against viruses and spam.

Facebook is yet to respond to the development.