Facebook must face $3.8 billion U.K. mass action over market dominance, tribunal rules

Facebook must face a collective lawsuit valued at around 3 billion pounds ($3.77 billion) over allegations the social media giant abused its dominant position to monetise users' personal data, a London tribunal ruled on Thursday.

Updated - February 16, 2024 01:09 pm IST

Published - February 16, 2024 11:26 am IST

Facebook must face a collective lawsuit.

Facebook must face a collective lawsuit. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Facebook must face a collective lawsuit valued at around 3 billion pounds ($3.77 billion) over allegations the social media giant abused its dominant position to monetise users' personal data, a London tribunal ruled on Thursday.

Legal academic Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, who is bringing the case on behalf of around 45 million Facebook users in the UK, says they were not properly compensated for the value of personal data they had to provide.

Explained | How Facebook temporarily avoided a $3.7 billion collective lawsuit in U.K.

Her lawyers argue users should get compensation for the economic value they would have received if Facebook was not in a dominant position in the market for social networks.

Facebook's parent company Meta Platforms Inc, however, says the lawsuit is "entirely without merit" and its lawyers argue the claimed losses ignore the economic value Facebook provides to its users.

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The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) last year refused to give the go-ahead to the case against Meta.

But the CAT ruled on Thursday that a revised claim put forward by Gormsen's lawyers should be allowed to proceed towards a trial.

Judge Marcus Smith said in a written ruling that a final hearing in the case could be heard in "the first half of 2026 at the latest".

A Meta spokesperson said in a statement that the company would "vigorously defend" the case.

"We are committed to giving people meaningful control of what information they share on our platforms and who with, and already invest heavily to create tools that allow them to do so," they added.

The case against Meta is the latest to be given the go-ahead at the CAT, with separate claims against Sony, Apple and major banks being certified last year alone.

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