Facebook in the UK is being sued for billions of pounds which, if successful, could see more than 44 million users compensated amid claims they had their data exploited.
Competition law expert Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen has launched a class-action lawsuit against Facebook’s parent firm, Meta, at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, accusing the technology giant of abusing its market dominance.
The legal claim is seeking a minimum of £2.3 billion in damages.
‘Unfair’ terms and conditions
The lawsuit argues that Facebook used its dominant position to force users to agree to “unfair” terms and conditions which then allowed the firm to generate billions in revenues from their data.
Users meanwhile received no monetary returns, which the claim has branded an “unfair deal”.
The legal claim is the first of its kind against Meta in the UK and is seeking financial redress for Facebook users in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 31 December 2019, who used the social networking site at least once during this period.
It is thought that more than 44 million people could be in line to receive compensation if the lawsuit is successful.
It argues that, between 2015 and 2019, Facebook collected data both within its own platform and outside using mechanisms such as Facebook Pixel, an advertising tool that can be used by third-party websites to monitor how users act on their site.
The action claims that Facebook was able to impose terms and conditions on UK users which enabled this data gathering because of its market dominance.
Dr Lovdahl Gormsen said: “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 44 million Britons who had their data exploited by Facebook.”
What has Facebook said?
In response to the legal claim, a Meta spokesman said: “People access our service for free.
“They choose our services because we deliver value for them and they have meaningful control of what information they share on Meta’s platforms and who with.
“We have invested heavily to create tools that allow them to do so.”