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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Meta faces billion-pound class-action case


Up to 44 million UK Facebook users could share £2.3bn in damages, according to a competition expert intending to sue parent company Meta.

Dr. Liza Lovdahl Gormsen claims Meta “abused its market dominance” by charging a “unfair price” for free Facebook use – personal data of UK users.

She intends to file a complaint with the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

According to a Meta representative, users have “meaningful control” over the information they share.

‘Excessive profits’

According to Dr. Lovdahl Gormsen, Facebook “abused its market dominance to impose unfair terms and conditions on ordinary Britons, giving it the power to exploit their personal data.”

And the data, collected between 2015 and 2019, provided a highly detailed picture of their internet usage, assisting the company in making “excessive profits.”

Unless they choose to opt out, anyone living in the UK who used Facebook at least once during the period will be included in the claim, she says.

However, in November, the UK’s Supreme Court rejected an optout claim seeking billions of pounds in damages from Google over alleged illegal tracking of millions of iPhones – Google said the issue had been addressed a decade ago.

Free services

The judge in that case ruled that the claimant had failed to demonstrate that the data collection had caused harm to each individual.

However, he did not rule out future mass-action lawsuits if damages could be calculated.

According to Dr. Lovdahl Gormsen, “Optout cases are specifically permitted at the Competition Appeal Tribunal.”

“As a result, my case is able to seek damages on behalf of the 44 million British Facebook users who have been affected.”

Meta has denied the accusations.

According to the company, people use its free services because they find them useful and want control over how their data is used.

‘Deliver value’

“People access our service for free,” a representative told BBC News. They choose our services because we provide value and they have meaningful control over what information they share on Meta’s platforms and with whom they share it.

“We have made significant investments to develop tools that will enable them to do so.”

This latest case, however, adds to the company’s legal woes.

The US Federal Trade Commission was recently given permission to sue Meta under anti-trust laws.

Meta said it was sure it would prevail in court.


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