Facebook is being sued in a lawsuit launched in the UK, that involves nearly one million Britons, concerning the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal.
It was back in April 2018, when Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were at the centre of a row over the misuse of personal data on 87 million people, mostly in the US.
Indeed, such was the fallout at the time that the political consultancy was forced to shut down soon afterwards.
Facebook in October 2019 agreed to drop its appeal against the £500,000 fine imposed by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), because of the data sharing scandal.
And in the United States, the US Federal Trade Commission in July 2019 hit Facebook a record-breaking fine of $5 billion (£4bn) for its involvement in the matter.
Facebook has also faced lawsuits in the US over the matter, but now the social networking giant is facing a mass action lawsuit on this side of the Atlantic.
The action is being organised by a group called ‘You owe Us‘, which has the stated intention “to show that the world’s biggest companies are not above the law.”
This group famously created the ‘Google You Owe Us’ group (led by Richard Lloyd, former Executive Director of Which?) that launched similar mass action lawsuit against Google a few years ago.
Now it has created a group called ‘Facebook You Owe Us‘ (led by human rights campaigner Alvin Carpio).
“Facebook, you owe us honesty, responsibility and redress,” the group states. “In 2013 and 2014, over 300,000 people participated in quiz apps on Facebook.”
“Facebook allowed these apps to harvest the data of every participants’ friends list; 87 million worldwide and nearly one million people in the UK,” it states. “We are taking Facebook to court on behalf of all of those friends affected in England and Wales.”
This lawsuit is reportedly being handled by law firm Millberg London.
But Facebook told the BBC it has not received any documents regarding this claim.
“We have not received any documents regarding this claim,” a Facebook company spokesperson said. “The Information Commissioner’s Office investigation into these issues, which included seizing and interrogating Cambridge Analytica’s servers, found no evidence that any UK or EU users’ data was transferred by Dr Kogan to Cambridge Analytica.”
But that is not cutting any ice with the group suing Facebook.
“When we use Facebook, we expect that our personal data is being used responsibly, transparently, and legally,” Alvin Carpio was quoted as saying by the BBC. “By failing to protect our personal information from abuse, we believe that Facebook broke the law.”
“Paying less than 0.01 percent of your annual revenue in fines – pocket change to Facebook – is clearly a punishment that does not fit the crime,” Carpio reportedly said. “Apologising for breaking the law is simply not enough.”
“Facebook, you owe us honesty, responsibility and redress,” he concluded. “We will fight to hold Facebook to account.”