Over $3.2-billion suit slapped on Facebook in Britain for alleged abuse of market dominance
- IBJ Bureau
- Jan 14, 2022
Social media giant Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms, faces an over 2.3 billion pound (more than $3.2 billion) class action in Britain over allegations that it abused its market dominance by exploiting the personal data of 44 million users.
Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, a senior adviser to Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) watchdog and competition law academic, has said that she is bringing the case on behalf of people in Britain who had used Facebook between 2015 and 2019.
The lawsuit, which will be heard by London’s Competition Appeal Tribubal, alleges that Facebook had made billions of pounds by imposing unfair terms and conditions that demanded consumers to surrender valuable personal data to access the network.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the law firm representing Ms Lovdahl Gormsen, has notified Facebook of the claim. Facebook has said that people use its services because it delivers value for them and “they have meaningful control of what information they share on Meta’s platforms and who (sic) with”. The case comes days after Facebook lost an attempt to strike out an antitrust lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), one of the biggest challenges by the US government against a tech company in decades as Washington attempts to tackle Big Tech’s extensive market power.
“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,” Ms Lovdahl Gornsen said.
“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,” Ms Lovdahl Gormsen has said, alleging that Facebook collects data within its platform and through mechanisms, like the Facebook Pixel, allowing it to build an “all-seeing picture” of internet usage and generate valuable, deep-data profiles of users.
Opt-out class actions, like Ms Lovdahl Gormsen’s, bind a defined group automatically into a lawsuit unless individuals opt out.