Following media reports last July that Instagram was secretly spying on users through the iPhone camera, Instagram user Brittany Conditi has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, Bloomberg reports.
Facebook had denied this at the time; blaming it on a bug. The social media giant had said it was fixing the issue at the time. It said the bug was triggering what it described back then as false notifications that iPhone camera was being accessed by Instagram.
In the filing as viewed by Bloomberg, Brittany claims that Instagram’s use of the camera was deliberate and done for the purpose of gathering “lucrative and valuable data on its users that it would not otherwise have access to.”
By “obtaining extremely private and intimate personal data on their users, including in the privacy of their own homes,” Instagram and its parent company Facebook are able to collect “valuable insights and market research,” according to an excerpt from the complaint.
Facebook is yet to issue an official statement per the lawsuit.
In 2019, Facebook’s data deals with some tech giants came under scrutiny by a grand jury in New York. Records of “at least two” large companies that make smartphones were subpoenaed, which shed more lights on the deals.
The companies, according to The New York Times, struck deals with Facebook in order to grant them access to user data like friend lists and contact information, without the explicit permission of users.
“We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement per The New York Times. “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.”
In 2018, Facebook’s hammer came down heavily on around 200 apps for misusing user data. Recall that the social media behemoth had promised to conduct a full-scale investigation into the Cambridge Analytical data scandal. The scandal you would recall sept through the internet like a tornado; but Facebook had since been making some sweeping changes.
The company through its VP of product partnerships, Ime Archibong announced that the suspension of the apps was in keeping with the promise it made to investigate all the apps that had access to the network pre-2014 before it changed its policies. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had promised that his company would audit individual apps and would not hesitate to ban any app that failed an audit.
After being a massive letdown, the social media behemoth has been making some sweeping changes to retain the trust of users. Also in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook scans the content of messages you send and receive on Messenger. Mr. Zuckerberg said his company does this in order to block any content that violates its policies.