Facebook and Instagram apps on mobile phone. Meta faces a £2.1 billion compensation claim.

Facebook £2.1bn compensation claim to go to trial

Competition court has given the go-ahead to a consumer legal action against Facebook owner Meta.

The case is being brought by Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, a competition law academic, on behalf of 46 million UK Facebook users who are said to have had their data exploited. 

The social media giant is accused of using its market dominance to impose terms and conditions on Facebook users that enabled Meta to unfairly profit from their data.  

Judges last year refused Dr Lovdahl Gormsen’s application to take collective action against Meta. She submitted new evidence in January on how she intends to prove her case which was unanimously approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Dr Lovdahl Gormsen, senior research fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, said:

‘We welcome the opportunity to hold Facebook to account for its exploitation of millions of Britons’  data. Facebook abused its market dominance to impose unfair terms and conditions on 46 million UK users of Facebook. 

‘We are pleased that the Tribunal is allowing the claim to go ahead and allowing us the chance to secure billions of pounds of damages for UK Facebook users.’ 

The case is expected to go to trial in early 2026.

Facebook, owned by Meta, login screen on mobile phone

Facebook’s unfair ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ offer

Dr Lovdahl Gormsen says Meta generated billions in revenue by profiting from its users’ highly valuable data. 

It got this data by abusing its dominant position in the market, using unfair terms and conditions that say you must agree to hand over your data on other Meta-owned products such as Instagram in order to use Facebook. 

Facebook is free to use but carries advertisements. The more data it has about its users, the better it can target and charge for adverts. 

Dr Lovdahl Gormsen is represented by law firm Quinn Emanuel. Kate Vernon, partner and Head of Competition Litigation Practice at the firm, said: ‘We are delighted that the Tribunal has permitted the case to proceed to trial, despite vigorous opposition from Meta. This is a groundbreaking case that will set the agenda for the application of competition law to the exploitation of data.’

Meta’s objections seen as ‘insufficient’

The claim is seeking £2.08 billion in compensation for anyone who had a Facebook account from October 2016. The claim will be heard at the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Meta reportedly said the claims against it are ‘entirely without merit and we will vigorously defend against them.’ Meta was approached for comment

The Competition Appeal Tribunal said Meta’s objections were important but ‘insufficient to justify dismissing the application’ to proceed the collective action.

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