Facebook Sues Aggregator For Displaying Old Profiles


Facebook has sued Profile Technology, a company that aggregates social networking profiles, for allegedly displaying outdated posts, as well as posts that users may have deleted.

The social-networking service alleges that the site ProfileEngine.com, operated by Profile Technology, displays information about users that doesn't reflect their current privacy settings. Facebook adds that some of the posts on ProfileEngine "may include" material that users deleted in hopes of removing it from public view.

Some information on ProfileEngine also may be incorrect due to "changes made by users over the course of time," Facebook alleges in a breach-of-contract complaint filed on Friday in federal court in the Northern District of California.

Facebook alleges Profile Technology violated the terms of its contract by retaining and displaying outdated data. Facebook adds that users complained to it about the information on ProfileEngine.

The case marks the second time the companies are facing off in court. Four months ago, Facebook was sued by Profile Technology for allegedly violating their contract by blocking the company's crawlers. That case is pending in state court in San Mateo County.

A Facebook spokesperson says the social networking service is "focused on maintaining the integrity of our site and ensuring developers adhere to the rules." He adds: "If we find that someone has violated our policies, we take action."

But Profile Technology's lawyer, Ira Rothken, says Facebook is "wrong on the facts, and wrong on the law."

"There's nothing that Profile Technology obtained through their crawling process that was not publicly available, so it does not implicate any privacy issues," he says.

Profile Technology didn't always have a contentious relationship with Facebook, according to the court papers. In 2008, Facebook agreed to allow Profile Technology to crawl the service for public information and then display profile data, the aggregator alleged in its October lawsuit. The company says that between 2008 and 2010, it aggregated more than 400 million profiles.

In 2010, Facebook allegedly blocked Profile Technology's crawlers. Shortly afterward, it allegedly began blocking Profile Technology's apps, including IQ Test. The relationship between the companies continued to deteriorate, resulting in Profile Technology's lawsuit against Facebook last October.

Rothken says the companies were in negotiations to resolve the state court matter when Facebook "out of the blue" filed suit in federal court last week.



2 comments about "Facebook Sues Aggregator For Displaying Old Profiles".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, February 6, 2013 at 11:55 a.m.

    Where does this leave the Facebook user who posts something actionable in civil, or even criminal court, and then has second thoughts and deletes it, only to find that the post is still publically visible on Profile Technology's sites? This makes it even more difficult to trust Facebook, since they're the one who invited PT in to mine info.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 6, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.

    FB has probably ruined more lives than enhanced. Because every misstep and every horror that has occurred has not been publicized, doesn't mean that the mean and stupid streaks in humans haven't hurt others. That statement continues on for all personal anti-social media. It is sad that it is possible, down the pike, that it will need to be regulated more thoroughly to be viable and control the WIllie Loman in all of us.

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