Facebook is facing a class action complaint over its use of the word "private" for its direct messaging system. Two users have accused the social network of intercepting their private messages in order to "mine user data and profit from those data by sharing them with third parties - namely, advertisers, marketers and other data aggregators." Their argument is that the use of the term "private messaging" is entirely misleading because of the way Facebook treats the content of those messages. For Facebook's alleged privacy intrusions, the plaintiffs are seeking more than $100 for every day of violation, or $10,000 pr class member of the lawsuit. Statutory damages of either $5,000 per class member or three times the amount of actual damages (depending on which is greater) are also being claimed.
Facebook has spent the past few years revising its privacy policies, including emphasizing more on clarification of what it does with user data - how it mines it and why it mines it. The company ios right to tread carefully - Google has already been sued for the way Gmail handled emails, and for rendering advertisments based on that particular content.