Meta Inc. (formerly known as Facebook) is facing a 2.3 billion pound ($3.2 billion) class action in the United Kingdom on charges that it exploited its market dominance by abusing the personal data of 44 million users.
Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, a senior consultant to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and a competition law scholar, announced she was pursuing the lawsuit on behalf of British Facebook users between 2015 and 2019.
According to the lawsuit, which will be examined by London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal, Facebook gained billions of pounds by imposing unfair terms and conditions that required people to submit valuable personal data in order to access the network.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the law firm representing Lovdahl Gormsen, has notified Facebook of the claim. According to Reuters.
Facebook said people used its services because it delivered value for them and “they have meaningful control of what information they share on Meta’s platforms and who with.”
“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,”Lovdahl Gornsen
“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.”
According to Lovdahl Gormsen, Facebook acquired data on its platform and through mechanisms such as the Facebook Pixel, allowing it to create a “all-seeing picture” of Internet activity and produce lucrative, deep data profiles of consumers.
Opt-out class actions, such as Lovdahl Gormsen’s, automatically attach a designated group to a lawsuit unless individuals opt out.
Dr Lovdahl Gormsen also told BBC News: “Optout cases are specifically permitted at the Competition Appeal Tribunal. As a result, my case is able to claim damages on behalf of the 44 million British Facebook users affected.”
On the other hand, Meta has rejected the allegations.
People use its free services because they find them useful and have control over how their data is used, it says.