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Facebook loses appeal against $15billion lawsuit accusing it of illegally tracking user internet activity

FACEBOOK has lost an appeal against a $15billion (£11billion) lawsuit that’s accusing it of illegally tracking its users across the internet.

The US Supreme Court has rejected Facebook’s wishes to reduce the lawsuit, which has accused Facebook of tracking people even when they’re not logged in.


Facebook says it didn’t violate the law[/caption]

Facebook is accused of violating the Wiretap Act, which is a federal law, and violating user privacy rights under California law.

The nationwide lawsuit was filed by four individuals who want Facebook to pay $15billion in damages for actions between April 2010 and September 2011.

They say Facebook was secretly tracking user activity when people went to websites that use features like the Facebook “like” button.

Facebook is then accused of using the information collected for advertising purposes and selling data to advertisers for profit.


The court case mentioned tracking on websites using the Facebook like button[/caption]

The court papers say Facebook stopped nonconsensual tracking in 2011.

Facebook is adamant that it protects user privacy and should not have to face liability for common practices.

Websites sometimes have Facebook “plug-ins” that are features which track browsing history.

Plug-ins like this are why you might view an item of clothing and then start seeing it advertised on every other website you click on.

Facebook says it didn’t violate the Wiretrap Act because it wasn’t secretly collecting the data.

It said: “Facebook was not an uninvited interloper to a communication between two separate parties; it was a direct participant.”

Why does it feel like Facebook is snooping on you?

Here’s what you need to know…

  • The magic of targeted advertising is that it should feel relevant to you – even if you can’t figure out why.
  • Facebook doesn’t need to spy on your real-life conversations, because you hand over so much information anyway.
  • Follow this link and you’ll be able to download everything Facebook knows about you. Most of you will quickly realise it’s a staggering amount of information.
  • Advertisers can use information gleaned from your activity all across the web, on multiple devices, even if you’re not logged into Facebook or other services.
  • They’ll likely know where you live, what you like, who your friends are, how much money you make, your political beliefs and much more.
  • So when you get ads for something you’ve talked about out loud, it’s almost certainly just advertisers being very good at predicting your interests.
  • It’s also possible that there’s an advertising campaign running, and you’ve seen an ad and not noticed. You’ve then spoken about it, never realising you’ve been advertised to, and only then notice future ads – which suddenly seem suspicious.
  • Let’s say you talked about a holiday to Scotland, and then all of a sudden you’re being advertised holidays to Scotland.
  • You may never have searched for anything to do with that before.
  • But Facebook could use info about your level of wealth, your past holiday interests, the time of year (ads for wintry Scottish retreats are common in the colder months), and your location.
  • What seems like snooping is actually just clever advertising.

In other news, Instagram is working on a version of the app for children under 13.

Instagram will soon start using artificial intelligence to stop adults messaging teenagers that don’t follow them.

And, Google is under fire for harvesting internet data of users browsing in Incognito Mode.

Do you worry about ad tracking? Let us know in the comments…

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