If you’ve ever sent a link through Facebook's Messenger, you might be part of a lawsuit against the social network. On Wednesday, a U.S. District Court judge affirmed anyone in the United States who sent a message including a URL, from 2011 onward, as automatically included in a class action lawsuit against the social media giant, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The judge's ruling allows the lawsuit to move forward after an amended complaint to update the naming of those affected.
The 2013 lawsuit, filed by Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley, alleges that Facebook keeps a record of links sent through private messages and stores them in a database, which is then used to generate recommendations and advertising. The lawsuit also accuses Facebook of sharing the information with third parties. In a response to the suit, Facebook likened its collecting of information to be similar to a published list of best-selling books, according to The Verge. “The anonymized and aggregated data is used to indicate the popularity of information,” it stated. So, what does it mean for you? Probably not much. The ruling that allows the case to go forward is prohibiting any monetary damages, meaning that the suit is only going to force Facebook to stop mining data. In testimony and a statement to The Verge, Facebook said it had already ended the practice. The continuing suit alleges that that’s not the case. However, if you’ve regularly shared personal private data (such as medical or banking information) via links in Messenger, you could have some real thinking to do. If you intend to file an individual lawsuit, you can’t be suing for the same thing in a class action suit. You can always opt out of a class action lawsuit by notifying the lawyers for the plaintiffs. An amended complaint against Facebook is due to be filed by June 8.