Facebook is challenging Whatsapp to settle a class action lawsuit in California for $100 million after an investigation found that the app was not only profiting from its ad placement but was also illegally manipulating users.
The class action complaint filed Monday claims that Facebook violated California’s deceptive advertising laws by manipulating users’ behavior to generate revenue.
Facebook declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The company had already settled with an ad network in August after the U.S. Justice Department alleged that Facebook manipulated users’ browsing history to target ads to users’ news feeds, thereby encouraging them to buy ad space.
Facebook agreed to pay the settlement to a California law firm after it agreed to remove the ads.
The complaint was filed by the consumer group Public Citizen, which says that the ads violated California consumers’ right to privacy.
Facebook’s ad network, Bixby, had not yet responded to a request for comment.
The case comes just as Facebook faces growing pressure to get rid of ads on its social media app and to curb the growing popularity of mobile devices.
The ad complaint filed by Public Citizen says Facebook’s ads on Whatsapp were not only paid for by Facebook but also by an advertising network called Google, which was owned by Alphabet Inc. A representative from the advertising network did not immediately respond to a follow-up inquiry.
The lawsuit also seeks class-action status for users who bought ads on the two apps in August.
The new complaint does not say whether the ads were placed by the network or by the advertising company itself.
Whatsapp has said it’s cooperating with the probe.
Last week, Facebook said it would stop selling ads on WhatsApp.