Three Facebook Messenger users filed a lawsuit against the world's largest social media network of Tuesday, claiming the company violated their privacy by using the mobile app to collect detailed logs of their phone calls and text messages. The plaintiffs are understood to be owners of Android devices given how Facebook recently admitted it conducts limited call and messages logging on the Android version of its popular Messenger app and Facebook Lite, having noted it only does so to users who specifically opted into that program. The Menlo Park, California-based firm said that functionality has always been optional and dismissed recent allegations of invasive data harvesting practices.
The latest lawsuit against Facebook was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and seeks class-action status. The decision on whether one will be granted to the complaint and if the three plaintiffs will even be allowed to pursue litigation against the firm is expected to be made later this spring. While the lawsuit is likely to continue, class-action requirements in California are generally much higher than those for regular complaints and the specifics of the new filing have yet to be publicized. Facebook hasn't issued a comment on the matter in any capacity and generally avoids reflecting on ongoing litigation involving its business.
The development comes shortly after the company was hit with a number of other privacy-related lawsuits following a widely reported scandal involving political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica which harvested data of some 50 million Facebook users in 2014, having been accused by a whistleblower of leveraging that information to assist the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. The company repeatedly denied those accusations and said it deleted the improperly obtained data in 2015, having already agreed to subject its servers to an independent forensic audit meant to verify its claims. The controversy is presently being investigated by the FTC and authorities in the European Union, with Facebook's stock still plummeting and currently trading at its June 2017 value after the firm's investors lost approximately $90 billion in market capitalization.