Social media giant Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms, faces a class action lawsuit in Britain, seeking at least £2.3 billion (over $3.1 billion) in damages, over allegations the company had exploited users’ data for profit.
The case is being brought by Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, a senior adviser to Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) watchdog and a competition law academic. She said the case was brought on behalf of Facebook’s 44 million users who had used the network between 2015 and 2019.
It alleges that Facebook made billions of pounds by imposing unfair terms and conditions that demanded consumers surrender valuable personal data to access the network.
“Facebook has exploited its dominance at its users’ cost,” Lovdahl Gormsen said. The law firm representing the FCA adviser has notified Facebook of the claim.
“Our case will argue that Facebook set an “unfair price” for its UK users. The ‘price’ set for gaining access to the social network was the surrender of UK users’ highly valuable personal data on a take-it-or-leave-it basis for using the network,” said the team working on the case.
“In return, users only received ‘free’ access to Facebook’s social network, and zero monetary recompense whilst Facebook generated billions in revenues from its users’ data. This unfair deal was only possible due to Facebook’s market dominance,” it added.
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Facebook said that 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.”
The lawsuit will be heard by London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal. Lawyers plan to file paperwork for the case shortly.
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