Facebook could be forced to pay £50 to 44 MILLION users in the UK if historic legal action succeeds: £2.3 billion lawsuit alleges the US tech giant made billions just by granting access to the site in exchange for “very valuable’ personal data
- Competition expert Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen files class action lawsuit
- Case against Facebook’s parent company Meta is at UK Competition Appeal Tribunal
- She accuses the company of abusing market dominance and demands £2.3bn in damages
- But Facebook says people use its services because they ‘deliver value to them’
Most UK Facebook users can receive a £50 payout if a landmark legal claim against the social network for ‘unfair’ terms and conditions is successful.
Competition law expert Dr. Liza Lovdahl Gormsen has filed the class-action lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company Meta in the British Competition Appeal Tribunal.
The director of the Competition Law Forum has accused the tech giant of abusing its market dominance and is seeking damages of at least £2.3 billion.
The action could lead to damages from more than 44 million people for claims that Facebook used its dominant position to force them to agree to the terms and conditions.
It is alleged that this allowed the company to generate billions in revenue from their data, while denying users a monetary return, which is an “unfair deal” according to the claim.
Competition law expert Dr. Liza Lovdahl Gormsen has filed the class-action lawsuit
Facebook employees are pictured at the UK headquarters of Rathbone Place in London
The claim – the first of its kind against Meta in the UK – will seek financial compensation for Facebook users in the UK between October 1, 2015 and December 31, 2019.
The payout would apply to people who have used co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s site at least once during this time – an estimated more than 44 million people.
What does the lawsuit against Facebook say?
The lawsuit alleges that Facebook made billions of pounds by imposing unfair terms that required consumers to surrender valuable personal information to access the network.
It states that Facebook has collected data both within its own platform and beyond using mechanisms such as Facebook Pixel, an advertising tool used by third-party websites to monitor how users act on their site.
The claim will seek financial compensation for Facebook users in the UK who have used the site at least once during this period – an estimated 44 million people – between October 1, 2015 and December 31, 2019.
It claims that Facebook was able to impose terms and conditions on UK users that enabled this data collection due to its market dominance.
She argues that between 2015 and 2019, Facebook collected data both within and outside its platform using mechanisms such as Facebook Pixel.
Pixel is an advertising tool that can be used by third-party websites to monitor how users act on their site.
The action alleges that Facebook was able to impose terms and conditions on UK users that enabled this data collection due to its market dominance.
dr. Lovdahl Gormsen said: ‘In the 17 years since it was founded, Facebook became the only social network in the UK where you could be sure to connect with friends and family in one place.
Yet Facebook had a dark side: It abused its market dominance to impose unfair terms on ordinary Britons, giving it the power to exploit their personal data.
“I am launching this case to seek billions of pounds in damages for the 44 million Britons who had their data misused by Facebook.”
dr. Lovdahl Gormsen is a senior advisor to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority – and the law firm that represents her, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, has notified Facebook of the claim.
Opt-out class actions, such as Dr. Lovdahl Gormsen, automatically bind a particular group to a lawsuit unless individuals opt out.
The claim is filed in London under the Consumer Act 2015.
In response, a Meta spokesperson said, “People can access our service for free.
Facebook (co-founder Mark Zuckerberg pictured in 2019) may have to pay all UK users £50
Workers walk through the lobby of Facebook’s London offices on Rathbone Place in 2017
“They choose our services because we deliver value to them and they have a lot of control over what information they share on Meta’s platforms and with whom.
“We’ve invested heavily to create tools that allow them to do that.”
The case comes days after Facebook lost a bid to remove a US antitrust lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission.
It was one of the U.S. government’s greatest challenges to a tech company in decades as Washington attempted to tackle Big Tech’s vast market power.