Facebook, the original leader of the social networking pack, seems to be rolling out a multitude of changes in order to monetize its social network. Some of these changes are being met with resistance, as pointed out in an article in MobileMarketingWatch written by MIchael Essany. The article reports that Facebook hit a major road block when it was charged with a class action lawsuit claiming it scanned private messages to better facilitate targeted advertisements.
Interpreting the substance of the lawsuit, Eric David wrote in the Silicon Angle blog “the lawsuit claims that Facebook used mentions of websites in private messages as a tally of “Likes,” which the site then used to display targeted advertising to those users.” He continuted, “Facebook is not the first service to use the content of messages to cater advertising to users. Google Inc.’s Gmail would scan emails for keywords to display unobtrusive text ads in a banner above the message.”
Facebook is putting up a fight, defending itself with an argument that states its monitoring activity is outlined under the terms of service agreement which users agree to when they register. Facebook also says that it’s method of obtaining and creating targeted ads differed from Google because they collected the information, saved it, and created “user profiles” for easier maintenance. “Effectively, this means that Facebook kept the tallies of the websites each person talked about on file and used that information to display ads on a longer time frame,” said Mr. David in Silicon Angle.
So far, Facebook has pushed to get the case thrown out, however the judge overseeing the case said it would move forward because neither sufficient evidence nor an explanation has been provided. In the interim, Facebook says it has stopped tracking private messages but still monitors them for anti-virus purposes.