Meta tries to block a US$3.7 billion UK lawsuit over data rights
Tech giant Meta has been under fire globally for its business practices and dominant grip on the market.
The backstory: Tech giant Meta has been under fire globally for its business practices and dominant grip on the market. This month, the EU hit Meta with a €5.5 million (about US$5.9 million) fine for breaking General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules with WhatsApp. This was on top of other fines on Facebook and Instagram for similar reasons. Meanwhile, the US has also been looking at Meta's practices to determine if it's anti-competitive.
More recently: In 2020, legal academic Liza Lovdahl Gormsen filed a lawsuit against Facebook (now Meta) on behalf of about 45 million UK users, saying the company had monetized their data without compensating them properly. The lawsuit said Facebook took advantage of its power to convince users to give up their personal information, which was then sold for profit through targeted ads.
The development: On Monday, Meta attempted to block this massive lawsuit worth up to US$3.7 billion by asking a London tribunal to dismiss it. Lovdahl Gormsen's lawyers argued that Facebook users should receive compensation for the value of their data used by the platform for profit. But, Meta rejected the lawsuit as "entirely without merit" and said the alleged losses disregarded the "economic value" provided by Facebook.
"A win could set a precedent for millions of users of search engines or social media in the UK and EU who have been forced to accept invasive surveillance and profiling to use digital platforms," said Tanya O'Carroll, a technology and human rights campaigner, who filed a sperate lawsuit at London's High Court against Meta last year.
"Meta's data practices violate the prohibition on abusive conduct by dominant firms," said Ronit Kreisberger, representing Lovdahl Gormsen to the UK tribunal. "There is unquestionably a case for Meta to answer at trial."
"Unauthorized data scraping is unacceptable and against our rules," said Meta in a statement in November after the EU imposed a fine for violating GDPR rules last year.