Facebook is being sued over claims that it has been scanning users' private messages and passing on the information to advertisers.

According to the allegations, based on independent research, Facebook scans messages that include links to other sites in order to discover what people are interested in.

It then uses this information "to improve its marketing algorithms and increase its ability to profit from data about Facebook users," so goes the lawsuit allegation.

A spokesperson for Facebook told TechRadar: "We continue to believe the allegations in this lawsuit have no merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously."

Face invaders

The lawsuit was filed by Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley with the Northern District Court of California, starting back in 2012 with claims that Facebook had been scanning through messages and recording links as "likes".

The case is ongoing and we may not see anything settled for some time. Right now the claimants are looking to get an injunction against Facebook in order to stop it scanning messages in the future, as well as money for alleged damages.

Then again, not everyone agees that Facebook would be in the wrong to scan private messages. Security expert Graham Cluley wrote on his blog: "if Facebook's security team didn't have such systems in place I would believe them to be disturbingly lax in their duty of care for users."

Security's a bit of a hot topic this week, eh?