Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter

Meta Caught in the Act of Spying on Snapchat, YouTube and Amazon

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

Share your love

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has been hit with serious charges after unsealed court documents revealed a secret operation called “Ghostbusters.”

These papers state that Meta was involved in an organized effort to spy on rival tech companies Snapchat, YouTube, and Amazon.

The Allegations: Cracking the Code on Encrypted Data

The case at hand involves a project that was started in 2016.

It is claimed that Meta (then Facebook) greenlighted “Ghostbusters” with the purpose of obtaining private analytics data from its competitors.

According to the files, Meta targeted encrypted in-app analytics, which are essential for companies to comprehend user behavior and optimize their platforms.

The lawsuit reveals how Meta allegedly used a technique called SSL bumping to break the data stream between users’ phones and targeted platforms, particularly Snapchat.

In other words, SSL bumping basically fools the device of a user into trusting a false security certificate, which allows Meta to decrypt the data before it reaches Snapchat’s servers.

This would then give Meta valuable insights on Snapchats user engagement, growth patterns, and possible weaknesses.

Mark Zuckerberg in the Eye of the Storm

The court papers also imply that Mark Zuckerberg himself, who is the CEO of Meta, played a key role in giving approval for “Ghostbusters.”

The emails included in the filing apparently show Zuckerberg underlining the need for “reliable analytics about them” regarding Snapchat, which was a rapidly growing competitor of Facebook at the time.

Javier Olivan, who is now Meta’s COO, is also mentioned in the documents as being fully supportive of the project.

Read More: Meta’s President of Global Affairs Meets with Young Nigerian Innovators

Beyond Snapchat: A Wider Web of Spying

The assumed spying didn’t end on Snapchat. According to the lawsuit, Meta employed similar methods against YouTube and Amazon in 2017–2018.

By supposedly decrypting their encrypted data, Meta was able to gather valuable insights into user trends and preferences on these competing platforms.

It is alleged that this intel would then be used by Meta to craft its own business strategies and potentially gain an unfair edge in the marketplace.

Meta could face a significant impact if the case proceeds. The lawsuit accuses Meta of violating user privacy, unfair business practices, and possibly wiretapping laws.

Legal experts are anticipating large fines and potential criminal charges, depending on the outcome of the case. Beyond legalities, the “Ghostbusters” project is more than just a legal issue.

Critics argue that Meta’s alleged actions demonstrate a lack of respect for fair competition and user trust.

The fact that the company is willing to allegedly go to such low levels to gain an edge over its competitors casts a gloomy shadow on its corporate culture.

The Way Forward: Damage Control and Transparency

Meta has yet to respond publicly in full detail to the allegations. It will be an uphill battle for the company to regain public trust and show that it is committed to ethical business practices.

The company’s leadership will most likely be closely examined by investors, who may demand a lot more transparency in its data collection activities.

The ‘Ghostbusters’ scandal could seriously impact Meta.

The company has the challenging task of treading carefully between the complex legal environment and winning back users as well as competitors.

Whether Meta can make it through this episode with its good name untarnished is anyone’s guess.

Share your love
Oluchukwu Ikemefuna
Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

Oluchukwu Blessing Ikemefuna, a talented content writer from Anambra, Nigeria, found her writing passion in secondary school. Holding a degree in Biological Sciences from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, she specializes in blog writing across technology, finance, healthcare, education, and lifestyle sectors. With strong research and SEO skills, Oluchukwu creates engaging content globally. Her work aims to inspire and engage authentically while driving action. Outside work, she enjoys travel, reading, and movies as she grows as a skilled writer.

Articles: 188

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter

Stay informed and not overwhelmed, subscribe now!