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Facebook caught red-handed spying on Snapchat users

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In a shocking revelation, Facebook (now Meta) has been caught red-handed spying on the web traffic and private user data of its rival, Snapchat, through a secret program codenamed “Project Ghostbusters.”

According to court documents unveiled this week, the social media giant launched the covert operation in 2016 at the direct order of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The project involved intercepting and decrypting encrypted app data from Snapchat, as well as other competitors like YouTube and Amazon.

Facebook deployed a “man-in-the-middle” attack technique to essentially create spyware capable of accessing users’ information before it was encrypted and sent over the internet. This allowed the company to monitor Snapchat usage metrics and user activity that it was struggling to obtain through official channels.

The illicit data collection continued for nearly three years from June 2016 until early 2019 before Facebook terminated the program. However, the company now faces a class-action lawsuit from users Sarah Grabert and Maximilian Klein for anti-competitive conduct and deceptive data exploitation practices.

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Internal emails show Facebook executives were aware the project was unethical, with one cybersecurity official stating: “The general public just doesn’t know how this stuff works.”

While the full scope of the spying operation is unknown, the revelations deal another black eye to Facebook’s battered reputation on data privacy. The company has been repeatedly embroiled in scandals over its shady data collection and monetization practices in recent years.

Critics argue this latest breach of user trust underscores the need for stricter regulations and enforcement around big tech’s unrestrained appetite for harvesting and exploiting consumer data.

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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