Facebook Users Claiming Information Was Used Illegally

Facebook has come under major fire recently with an unprecedented suit being filed against them. A user privacy suit for class action lawsuits is accusing the social media company of illegally logging their user's text messages and phone call history.

The suit was filed last Tuesday from Northern California in the federal court. The suit was filed by three different Facebook account holders who claim that their privacy was illegally violated when Facebook had scraped their text logs and phone calls sent through the messaging application and through the Facebook Lite applications. They feel this had exploited a vulnerability in the account holder's permission settings which states that this information is not stored on the Facebook servers.

What Suit Claims

According to the lawsuit that was filed against Facebook by the three users, they allowed Facebook to have access to their "Contact List" only. Tyoka Brumfield, Anthony Williams and Wendy Burnett have shared that when they all installed these applications on their devices, they did not give permission or consent for Facebook to scrape their text logs or calls from the Messenger and Lite apps created by Facebook.

When users install these applications on their devices, they are asked to grant Facebook permission to access their contact lists. However, when you agree to this, the Android devices with these applications also ended up scraping the text and call logs as well. This was done without permission while the apps were collecting the user's contact lists.

Facebook Logs

Other information concerning accusations against Facebook have also been released in the lawsuit. It states that Facebook has been collecting text data and call logs that go back for years from user's applications. This information even included things like whether or not a call was "incoming" or "outgoing", or even "missed" calls. The data collected also included a time and date for each call or number dialed. The suit claims that Facebook has been using this data to incorporate into each user's profile to sell or monetize for their advertising purposes.

Contact List Permissions

It seems that most applications we download to our devices these days prompt us to allow them access to our contact lists. Most of us mindlessly accept these terms without any further thought. However, what many of us fail to understand is that we just gave permission to these companies to access much of the information we have stored on our phones and devices. In some instances, companies like Facebook have taken our permissions in order to sell that information to use for the purpose of making money. Once you have given permission to an app, they can go into your device to get call logs and text logs to use when selling to advertisers.

50 Million Users Affected

The center of this class action suit against Facebook is the fact that they intruded on over 50 million of their user's privacy without admitting to their reasons for doing so. The plaintiffs involved in filing this suit all claim to did allow Facebook to have access to their contact lists, but nothing more. They are not happy with the fact that Facebook took that permission to access other information they wanted without a user's knowledge. They monetized illegal and private information of their users in order to make money. All of this was done at the expense of putting their user's privacy at risk.

Fixed A Little Too Late

The lawsuit has noted that Facebook fixed this issue of vulnerability back in October 2017. The company also claims that they have stopped scraping user's text and phone call logs since then as well. However, the data they have collected before October has yet to be purged. This lawsuit's filers are seeking to represent a nationwide class of Facebook account holders who have installed the Messenger and Lite apps on their Android devices. They are asking the courts to also grant compensation to those involved in the suit, along with current injunctions that require Facebook to get rid of any information they still have access to from their user's call and text logs. There is also a New York subclass filing a suit seeking statutory, compensatory and punitive damages as well.

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