Social media giant Facebook is facing legal action worth £2.2bn for unfairly profiting from its users’ data

Facebook is being sued for £2.2bn for unfairly profiting from the data it collected from its 45m UK users. If you used Facebook, even once, between 2016 and 2019 you could be in line for compensation.

Facebook’s parent company Meta is facing a legal claim on behalf of 45m users who accessed the site between 2016 and 2019.  Facebook is said to have abused its dominant position in the market by making users sign up to unfair T&Cs that gave the company access to highly valuable user data for free. If you used Facebook, even once, during the three year period you could be in line for compensation. Sign up to stay updated.

Dr Lovdahl Gormsen, who is leading this legal action, says:

‘In the 17 years since it was created, Facebook became the sole social network in the UK where you could be sure to connect with friends and family in one place. Yet, there was a dark side to Facebook; it abused its market dominance to impose unfair terms and conditions on ordinary Britons, giving it the power to exploit their personal data. I’m launching this case to secure billions of pounds of damages for the 45 million Britons who had their data exploited by Facebook.’

45m Facebook users pay too high a price 

To access Facebook for free, users have to sign up to the platform’s terms and conditions, handing over highly valuable data. The company then generated billions of pounds in revenue from this information. 

45m UK users are said to have been exploited by Facebook and are included in this claim, which is being brought on an opt-out basis. Dr Gormsen, who is seeking to represent the millions of affected users, says that this unfair deal was only possible because of Facebook’s market dominance. 

Facebook collects data both on and off its platform using tools like Facebook Pixel, which allow it to understand in detail how individuals use the internet. This legal case contends that Facebook’s actions created ‘intrusive’ user profiles that generated excessive profits. It is these user profiles that were highlighted in the now infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Affected users automatically included 

At a three day court hearing at the end of January 2023, the Tribunal was asked to approve Dr Gormsen as the Class Representative and to allow the case to be brought as an opt-out claim. The Tribunal published its judgement on 20 February 2023, giving Dr Gormsen up to six months to come back with additional evidence setting out what they described as a ‘new and better blueprint for the effective trial of the proceedings’. The Tribunal took issue with the legal claims and economic methodology and said if a new, better argument wasn’t presented in six months it would reject the claim.

At this stage you do not actively have to opt into the claim to be eligible for compensation. Sign up to Consumer Voice to stay updated as the claim progresses. 

Meta faces more claims around the world

This competition case in the UK comes as Meta faces a series of challenges from the US consumer competition agency the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has crossed swords with the social media giant over its ownership of WhatsApp and Instagram and most recently it has just lost its challenge on competition grounds to Meta’s acquisition of a virtual reality content maker Within Unlimited.  

Meta is fighting these claims of anti competitive behaviour and says it has invested heavily in tools for consumers to be able to have ‘meaningful control’ over the information they share on its platform. 

Dr Gormsen is awaiting approval to represent UK consumers in this claim. She is an international competition law expert and has co-authored papers on Facebook’s anti competitive and exploitative practices. She will be represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP and the counsel team are Ronit Kreisberger QC and Nikolaus Grubeck of Monckton Chambers and Greg Adey of One Essex Court. The case is being funded by Innsworth.

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