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Facebook isn’t exactly a stranger to allegations of abuse of privacy, but according to documents filed in California by two US users – they might be in for a whole new shitstorm of bad publicity.

The individuals have stated that Facebook routinely intercepts private messages between users and scans them for outgoing links, if those links are present they are then followed and used to gain assumed demographic knowledge about its user base. The crux of their complaint lies in the misrepresentation of the ‘private’ nature of the messaging service – arguing that people would be more likely to give away valuable info about themselves if they think that communication is shielded from the public. Which seems like a pretty reasonable assumption, really.

Facebook have denied the claims, with a company release stating that “[…] The allegations are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.” Still, if you’re looking for a reason to spend a little less time on the ‘book in 2014 – you might just have a good reason now.