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    Wired: Facebook’s E-mail Censorship is Legally Dubious, Experts Say

    Wired reports on Facebook censoring members’ private e-mails.

    When The Pirate Bay released new Facebook features last month, the popular social networking site took evasive action, blocking its members from distributing file-sharing links through its service.

    Now legal experts say Facebook may have gone too far, blocking not only links to torrents published publicly on member profile pages, but also examining private messages that might contain them, and blocking those as well. […]

    Facebook private messages are governed by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which forbids communications providers from intercepting user messages, barring limited exceptions for security and valid legal orders.

    While the sniffing of e-mails is not unknown — it’s how Google serves up targeted ads in Gmail and how Yahoo filters out viruses, for example — the notion that a legitimate e-mail would be not be delivered based on its content is extraordinary.

    Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly acknowledged that the site censors user messages based on links. But he insisted that Facebook has the legal right to do so, because it tells users they cannot “disseminate spammy, illegal, threatening or harassing content.”

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